LONG ISLAND, N.Y. (CNN) — A New York police officer has been arrested in connection with the death of his 8-year-old autistic son.
He and his girlfriend are accused of abusing the boy, but the father says it was just a tragic accident.
“The unimaginable has happened in our county,” the words of Suffolk’s police commissioner as homicide detectives led out alleged child killer — 40-year-old Michael Valva an NYPD transit officer.
He and his fiancee, Angela Pollina, have been charged with killing the cop’s 8-year-old autistic son.
“Thomas Valva was subjected to freezing temperatures in the home’s unheated garage overnight when the outside temperature was 19 degrees,” said Geraldine Hart, Suffolk police commissioner.
Thomas was found dead this week at the couple’s Bittersweet Lane home in Center Moriches. The father claimed a tragic accident, that the child fell on the driveway waiting for the school bus.
When investigators responded to a 911 call, Valva was trying to revive the lifeless body of his son.
“At the time of his arrival at the hospital, Thomas’ body temperature was 76 degrees,” Hart said.
CBS 2 News obtained school district reports from nurses and psychologists that Thomas and a brother came to school hungry and in urine-soaked clothing.
Child protective services had been called to the home and a welfare check was not followed up on.
“I can tell you we are going to look at every interaction this child had with the system and we are going to follow through,” Hart said.
In the meantime neighbors are aghast. They had contributed to the father’s GoFundMe page and are now worried he will use the money for his lawyers instead of the boy’s funeral.
“We’re happy that he’s been arrested and that these children will not be abused anymore,” said neighbor Sharon Scarborough
His other two sons are now with his estranged wife Justunya. She has temporary custody and said she warned authorities she was worried for their safety.
Valva’s fiancee, who has three daughters of her own, saw them taken away to be with her family members.