Cop 'froze his autistic son to death by making him sleep on freezing garage floor'

Cop 'froze his autistic son to death by making him sleep on freezing garage floor'

An NYPD transit cop charged with murdering his autistic eight-year-old son was emotionless in court as prosecutors showed photos of the boy's soiled clothes on Wednesday.

Michael Valva, 41, sobbed the previous day after a recording of the 911 call he made on the day of Thomas' killing was played in the Long Island courtroom.

Valva has been charged in the murder of his son, who was allegedly starved, beaten, and locked outside their Long Island home. He died of hypothermia after sleeping in an unheated garage on a freezing night on January 17.

His former fiancee Algela Pollina, 42, who is also charged with second-degree murder, appeared to wipe away a tear during Wednesday's pre-trial hearing.

They were shown images of Thomas' shirt, socks, and soiled pants on a screen inside the courtroom during Suffolk County detective Michael Ronca's testimony.

Ronca told Suffolk County Supreme Court that he was at the family's home in Center Moriches when another detective said Valva had removed Thomas' clothing and deposited them in a while plastic bag in the backyard patio.

Michael Valva, 41, who is charged with murdering his autistic eight-year-old son.

'It was my goal to find that bag,' Ronca said in court on Wednesday, reports the New York Post. The detective managed to find the bag in the yard, which had been placed next to large black bags.

'You have a children's shirt, a pair of socks, and a pair of pants,' Ronca said, adding that the pants were soiled.

On Tuesday, the chilling emergency call made by Valva on January 17 last year was played to the court.

Valva was given custody of Thomas and his brother in September 2017 despite desperate pleas from Thomas' biological mother, Justyna Zubko-Valva, and concerns from school officials that they were being abused.

During the 911 call, Valva can be heard telling an operator that his son had 'stopped breathing,' before saying: 'He fell down and banged his head.'

'I don't know if he's breathing or not … His heart stopped. He banged his head pretty good.'

'His belly is filling up, like it's filling up with air.'

The operator responds: 'Are you sure he's not breathing?' to which he replies: 'I don't know, to be honest.'

As emergency responders arrived at the scene, Valva can be heard saying: 'He banged his head.

Valva and Pollina have both been charged with second degree murder.

'He was OK. I got him dressed.'

According to Valva's lawyer John LoTurco, it was the first time Valva had heard the 911 call. 'That was an emotional moment for him and I imagine for Angela as well,' the lawyer said.

On Tuesday, Suffolk County Police Sergeant Gregory Turzer told the court that Pollina had said Thomas had fallen in the driveway and had defecated and wet himself.

She also claimed she had helped Valva take Thomas to a shower in the basement to get him 'cleaned up', Turzer testified.

Valva's lawyer Anthony La Pinta also told reporters that the defense is 'attacking the legality of the search of the residence involved here'. He said the police needed a warrant before searching the home.

Matt Touhey, Pollina's lawyer, added that Polina will take the stand during the pre-trial hearings this week.

'When someone's innocent, they're not hiding behind anything and she wants to get up,' Touhey said.

Valva is facing 25 years to life in prison for the death of his son if he is found guilty.

Authorities were dispatched to the home where Thomas had been living at about 9.40am on January 17, 2020, after his father said the boy had fallen in the driveway and lost consciousness while running for the school bus.

Responding officers found Valva performing CPR on Thomas in the basement.

The little boy was rushed to Long Island Community Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Prosecutors allege he had been forced to sleep in the garage, despite it being 19F outside, with no blankets.

Thomas' cause of death was determined to be hypothermia.

According to police, cameras and microphones that had been set up in Mike Valva's home captured audio of him and Angela taunting Thomas as he froze to death.

The audio files allegedly recorded the couple discussing the fact that Thomas was suffering from hypothermia, had been washed with cold water, couldn't walk and was 'face-planting' on the concrete.

They laughed as they said 'he's hypothermic' and that he had 'face-planted' the floor.

Pollina remarked: 'You know why he's falling?'.

Valva replied: 'Because he's cold.... boo f*****g hoo'.

Thomas' death has since prompted an investigation into the social services department and how it dealt with abuse allegations against the couple and the children who lived with them.

A separate task force will examine how the department handles cases of children with developmental disabilities.

Following his death, Thomas' brothers were placed in the custody of their mother.

Pollina's daughters were placed in the custody of their biological fathers.
Cop 'froze his autistic son to death by making him sleep on freezing garage floor'
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