RIVERHEAD, N.Y.— In the final two days of his life, 8-year-old Thomas Valva was allegedly dragged down a staircase by his father’s fiancée in their Center Moriches home, after soiling his pants, and then pushed into the bitterly cold garage—as the fiancee’ sent video links to Thomas’ father, who was out of the house and working as an NYPD police officer.
When the fiancee’ later texted that Thomas was not looking good, with the camera showing him shaking on the garage floor and needing to go to the bathroom, Officer Michael Valva allegedly responded, “F—k the piece of s—t, Thomas. He is not going anywhere.”
These were just some of the new details that came out about the days and weeks leading up to Thomas’ Jan. 17 death, as the NYPD father and his fiancée, Angela Pollina, were formally arraigned on murder charges in Suffolk County Supreme Court.
Both pleaded not guilty.
“What happened here is heinous, it’s clearly a house of horrors,” Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini remarked to reporters after the proceedings. “We’re not going to stop until we get to the truth, the truth about all the circumstances.”
The boy’s mother, Justyna Zubko-Valva—who lost full custody of her three boys to the father in January 2018 — clutched Thomas’ Mass card, as she listened to the terrible litany of abuses her sons endured.
“Now everybody’s trying to do the right thing, but where were you when I begged you for help? When I could have saved my son’s life,” Zubko-Valva sobbed outside court.
Footage downloaded from a RING app in the Valva/Pollina household led to their arrests.
Prosecutor Kerriann Kelly also revealed that Thomas and his older brother went to school in the fall of 2019 with bruises on their bodies, and Thomas had “hair pulled from his head at the roots.”
“I can’t understand how this could happen, how another human being could do this to their own child,” DA Sini said.
Other information that emerged Thursday morning was brutal, as well.
Prosecutors revealed that ring cameras posted in every room of the large house captured the child abuse atrocities inside.
Kerriann Kelly talked about Pollina allegedly becoming enraged on January 15, when Thomas soiled his pants in his bedroom while his father was at work.
She described Thomas being dragged down a staircase and forced into a cold garage, when the temperature was 19 degrees.
“She took a clip of the freezing children and sent it to Valva at 10:42 pm,” Kelly told Judge William Condon.
Kelly described “Thomas shivering, shaking, holding himself because he needed to go to the bathroom, looking into a camera with pleading eyes for someone to help him.”
Prosecutors said Pollina’s actions were miserably cruel, callous, wanton and evil.
She allegedly showed no compassion when the 8 year old was shivering on the concrete garage floor, they said.
Pollina’s three daughters were also living in the house.
Justyna Zubko-Valva had warned a Nassau County judge nearly three years ago that her boys would die, if they were left in their father’s care.
Yet while her estranged husband used an attorney to represent him, his wife stood before the judge alone—and angered the court when she repeatedly ignored orders to have the children evaluated by a forensic psychiatrist.
The mother was insisting her children were also being subjected to sexual abuse, something Nassau County police said there was no proof of.
Prosecutors said the two older boys, both diagnosed with autism, went to their new East Moriches school with bruises and wearing pullup diapers.
They would scrounge in the garbage for food to eat.
“The boys were unbearably thin,” the prosecutor noted, “and cried when they were denied food.”
Thomas reportedly was drenched with so much urine one time that his sneakers squished.
It’s already been reported teachers in the East Moriches School District made at least 20 calls to the New York State Child Abuse Hotline.
The Department of Social Services intervened in Suffolk County, even mandating that Michael Valva and Angela Pollina go to parenting classes.
They were monitored for at least a year.
But they retained custody, even when the abuse allegations persisted.
District Attorney Sini said the family’s ‘contact with child welfare agencies is being investigated.
He hinted he may ask a special grand jury to investigate the Thomas Valva case—from the moment the boys were removed from their mother’s care to the minute Thomas died.