CENTER MORICHES, N.Y. — As funeral arrangements were set for 8-year-old Thomas Valva— who froze to death in his father’s garage on Jan. 17— reports from an emergency medical technician who responded to the Center Moriches home said the child’s face had tell-tale injuries of abuse.
“Thomas Valva was observed with visible abrasion to his face, like ‘road rash,’” EMT Erin Lambert told Suffolk County caseworkers, “which could have resulted by being dragged across pavement.”
The statements were contained in documents released in Family Court Monday, when Thomas Valva’s father, Michael—now charged with his murder—appeared with his fiancée, Angela Pollina, also accused in the boy’s murder.
Michael Valva is an NYPD transit police officer. Through his lawyer, he called the death of Thomas a terrible accident.
Documents indicate Valva and his fiancée had a long history with Child Protective Services in Suffolk County and also reveal Michael Valva changed his story about the night of Jan. 16 into the early hours of Jan. 17.
EMT Lambert described the child’s condition and her interactions with Michael Valva, when 911 was called at 9:41 am on Jan. 17.
“The child was ice cold to the touch,” Lambert said. “Thomas wasn’t wearing underwear, or a shirt, and his sweat pants were pulled down to his knees.”
The respondent (meaning Michael Valva) told the EMT “….Thomas hit his head on the door frame and wet his pants.” According to the report, Valva then said “he gave the child a shower and put him on the couch” in the home’s finished basement.
The report said when Valva returned to check on the child, he was unresponsive.
“The EMT told respondent that the explanation was inconsistent with the severity of child’s injury. Respondent then changed his story, claiming Thomas Valva fell face first onto the driveway, as he was catching the school bus,” the report continued.
The report noted the boy had involuntarily defecated and “the child had additional abrasions to his knees, elbows, and right flank.”
The Family Court report also referenced an incident from more than two years ago, shortly after Michael Valva took over full-time custody of his three sons, in the home he lived in with Angela Pollina and her three daughters.
“On January 13, 2018, respondent became enraged with Thomas Valva and made the, then, 6-year-old child lean over a table with his hands stretched out and respondent repeatedly hit Thomas on the buttocks. This caused the child significant pain and numerous bruises,” with the report adding the boy had injury to his lower back “and was still in pain three days later.”
Despite these kinds of reports, Thomas Valva remained with his father and Angela Pollina, while Suffolk County monitored the family for at least a year and ordered the couple to take parenting classes.
Thomas will be buried at eight years old, with a wake planned for Wednesday, Jan. 29, at Mangano Funeral Home in Deer Park, starting at 2 p.m.
A funeral Mass is planned for Thursday morning at St. Elizabeth Roman Catholic Church in Huntington Station with burial at St. Charles Cemetery.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone has ordered an internal review of the Valva case and commissioned a task force to evaluate how children with autism and other developmental disabilities are safeguarded against potential abuse.
Gino Cali, the biological father of Angela Pollina’s youngest daughter, appeared at Family Court Monday and told reporters he knew something bad was going to happen a long time ago.
“I would watch Angela abuse the twin girls, before the boys were involved, before my daughter was even born. She would beat one of the girls, I would break it up, and then she’d threaten she was going to call the police on me,” Cali said, his voice choked with emotion.
Pollina’s lawyer told reporters the day of her murder arrest that she “loved” Thomas.