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A jury convicted a former New York City police officer of second-degree murder in the death of his 8-year-old son, who was forced to sleep overnight on the concrete floor of a freezing garage.

Michael Valva, 43, was found guilty on Friday of four counts of child endangerment and faces a maximum potential sentence of 25 years to life after his son, Thomas Valva, died in January 2020. 

Thomas died after sleeping in the garage in the family’s Long Island located on Bittersweet Lane in Center Moriches as temperatures dropped under 20 degrees. A medical examiner ruled the boy’s death a homicide and found that hypothermia was a major contributing factor. 

‘While there is nothing that we can do to bring Thomas back, we are satisfied with the jury’s decision,’ Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney said in a statement. ‘Michael Valva subjected his sons to horrific abuse, neglect and cruelty. He will now pay for cutting short the life of a young, innocent, defenseless boy who had a lifetime ahead of him.’ 

Friday’s verdict came on the first day of deliberations after a month’s worth of testimony. Michael will be sentenced on December 8.

Michael Valva, 43, was found guilty of child endangerment and second-degree murder in the death of his autistic eight-year-old son on Friday

Michael Valva, 43, was found guilty of child endangerment and second-degree murder in the death of his autistic eight-year-old son on Friday

Thomas Valva died on January 17, 2020, from hypothermia after sleeping on his dad's Long Island garage. Prosecutors said the boy was starved and beaten along with his older brother

Thomas Valva died on January 17, 2020, from hypothermia after sleeping on his dad’s Long Island garage. Prosecutors said the boy was starved and beaten along with his older brother 

Michael Valva

Michael's former fiancee Angela Pollina

Valva’s (left) former fiancee Algela Pollina, 42, (right) were both charged for second-degree murder at the time. Pollina is awaiting pre-trial and has pleaded not guilty 

Prosecutors said Thomas and his 10-year-old brother were both on the autism spectrum and were at times forced to sleep in the garage.

The boys spent 16 consecutive hours in the freezing garage leading up to the 8-year-old’s death, Newsday reported. Prosecutors also alleged Michael Valva did nothing to help him as the boy died in front of him and then lied to police and first responders.

Valva’s then-fiancee, Angela Pollina, also faces child endangerment and second-degree murder counts. 

Pollina allegedly participated in the abuse and spayed Thomas with cold water during the ordeal at the home in Center Moriches. She is awaiting trial and has pleaded not guilty. 

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The case saw extensive delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Angelina Pollina allegedly participated in the abuse and spayed Thomas with cold water during the ordeal at the home in Center Moriches. Pictured: Pollina and Valva

Angelina Pollina allegedly participated in the abuse and spayed Thomas with cold water during the ordeal at the home in Center Moriches. Pictured: Pollina and Valva 

The case saw extensive delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Pictured: Pollina and Valva

The case saw extensive delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Pictured: Pollina and Valva

The child endangerment counts stemmed from the beating and starving of both boys. Their teachers testified the boys came to school with bruises and often were so hungry they ate crumbs off the floor, according to the newspaper.

East Moriches Elementary School principal Edward Schneyer said that when suspicions about the child’s neglect were flagged to Michael, he rebuffed the concerns. 

As a result, the school started ‘flooding’ CPS with calls for Thomas’ welfare, Schneyer said. 

Schneyer said that Thomas and his older brother Anthony appeared fine when they first started school in 2017, but they later started to come into class looking ‘extremely emaciated.’

The young brothers would come into school feeling cold and hungry, and Thomas would sometimes come to lessons with bruises and cuts on his face.

Anthony, who was 10 at the time, also showed up to school soaked in urine on one occasion.

The children’s conditions would temporarily improve every time the school filed a new CPS complaint, but the changes were only short lived, Schneyer said. 

East Moriches Elementary School principal Edward Schneyer (pictured) said that when suspicions about the child's neglect were flagged to the dad, he rebuffed the concerns

East Moriches Elementary School principal Edward Schneyer (pictured) said that when suspicions about the child’s neglect were flagged to the dad, he rebuffed the concerns

Justyna Zubko-Valva, Thomas' mother, said she attempted to warn the school about her son's abuse by their father

Justyna Zubko-Valva, Thomas’ mother, said she attempted to warn the school about her son’s abuse by their father

Zubko-Valva and her son Thomas before his death. Thomas' father was awarded custody of Thomas in 2017

Zubko-Valva and her son Thomas before his death. Thomas’ father was awarded custody of Thomas in 2017

Justyna Zubko-Valva, Thomas’ mother, said she had provided the school with evidence of alleged abuse at the hands of his father for two years. The evidence ranged from audio recording to medical records. 

She has recently been given the go-ahead to sue child protective services and school officials for $200million, a judge ruled.

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The father was awarded custody of his two sons – both autistic – in 2017, but Zubko-Valva claims that Thomas’ school did nothing about her abuse allegations for a full year after that.

She claims she gave CPS a flash drive with 320 files of evidence of abuse, which included transcripts of Valva teaching his sons to repeat ‘mommy is mean,’ ‘I don’t want to stay with mommy,’ ‘I don’t love mommy.’

Zubko-Valva said that Valva told CPS that she was the abusive parent, that she beat the kids and poisoned them with ‘brown medicine.’

She accused CPS of lying about their findings and fabricated evidence to support the father’s accusations.

Thomas’ mother said that CPS found that he looked ’emaciated,’ but that they closed their investigation into Valva 10 days before their son died.

Thomas died after sleeping in the garage in the family's Long Island located on Bittersweet Lane in Center Moriches as temperatures dropped under 20 degrees

Thomas died after sleeping in the garage in the family’s Long Island located on Bittersweet Lane in Center Moriches as temperatures dropped under 20 degrees 

Thomas was one of six children in Mike and Angela's care who were living at the home at the time the little boy died. Thomas' brothers have since been placed in the custody of their mother while Pollina's daughters were placed in the custody of their biological fathers

Thomas was one of six children in Mike and Angela’s care who were living at the home at the time the little boy died. Thomas’ brothers have since been placed in the custody of their mother while Pollina’s daughters were placed in the custody of their biological fathers

On the day of Thomas’ death in 2020, authorities were dispatched to the home where the boy had lived  around 9.40am 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.

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’.

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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. 

TIMELINE TO A TRAGEDY: THE THOMAS VALVA CASE

Michael Valva, 41, stands accused of second-degree murder and child endangerment in the death of his son, Thomas, 8, who was on the autism spectrum and was left to freeze in a garage overnight in January. 

February 4, 2011: Justyna Zubko-Valva, Michael Valva’s now-estranged wife, accused Michael of verbal and financial abuse.

September 14, 2011: Thomas Valva is born.

Late 2014: Zubko-Valva accuses Valva of having an affair with Angela Pollina.

2015: Divorce proceedings between Zubko-Valva and Valva begin.

July 2016: Zubko-Valva accuses Valva of child abuse, including starvation, dehydration, and a lack of medical care for son Anthony when he had a fever.

September 2017: Valva is awarded temporary custody, with Zubko-Valva getting unsupervised visits every other weekend.

Fall 2017: East Moriches Elementary School staff expresses concerns of abuse in the Valva home.

January 2018: Thomas and Anthony both accuse Zubko-Valva of abuse after meeting with a CPS worker.

April 2018: School psychologist Renee Emin sees bruises on Thomas, which she’s told Valva gave him.

February 2019: CPS report states Anthony goes to school with urine soakings.

March 2019: CPS report again cites potential malnutrition, along with garage punishments.

May 2019: CPS report states Valva threw a book bag at Thomas’ head.

January 16, 2020: Thomas and Anthony are allegedly forced to sleep in the freezing garage overnight with blankets, pillows, or mattresses. 

January 17, 2020: Suffolk County Police respond to 911 call after Thomas falls in driveway. He is pronounced dead at Long Island Community Hospital.

January 24, 2020: Valva and Pollina are arrested and charged with second-degree murder and child endangerment.

February 2020: Valva tells Suffolk Family Court he has been fired, but police claim he was simply suspended without pay.

June 2020: Zubko-Valva files $200 million lawsuit against officials for failing to heed her warnings about the abuse Thomas was facing.

October 28, 2020: Valva resigns from the NYPD with his pension intact. 

 Source: Newsday

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

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