Thomas and his brother were allegedly forced to wear diapers to school because they were not allowed to use the bathroom at home
The Long Island woman accused, with her fiancé, of forcing his 8-year-old son to sleep in their frigid garage — which allegedly caused him to die of hypothermia — allegedly texted her fiancé video clips of the child being abused while he was at work.
New York City Police Officer Michael Valva and Angela Pollina have pleaded not guilty to one count of second-degree murder and four counts of endangering the welfare of a child for the death of Valva’s son Thomas, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office.
The pair were arrested on Jan. 24, one week after they had called police to report that Thomas had fallen and died while waiting for the school bus. But upon arrival at the hospital, the boy’s body temperature was 76 degrees and he appeared to have been deceased for longer than reported.
On Thursday, prosecutors detailed the abuse Thomas, who had autism, allegedly endured in the final days of his life at the hands of his father and Pollina.
According to prosecutors, Thomas and his older brother, 10, were forced to sleep in the home’s unheated garage without a blanket, mattress or pillow. They were allegedly withheld food and forced to wear diapers to school because they were not allowed to use the bathroom at home.
Some of the abuse was captured on video and audio recordings by a garage camera, labeled “the kids’ room,” which was part of the family’s home security system. Pollina allegedly texted Valva images from this camera while he was at work.
On the day of Thomas’ death, the 8-year-old was allegedly falling over repeatedly after sleeping on the cold concrete floor. Valva allegedly mocked his son in text messages, calling him a a “f—ng moron” and a “stupid f—ing son of a bitch” after he fell.
In an audio recording from that morning, his brother can be heard asking why Thomas was having troubling walking.
“When you’re washed with cold water and it’s freezing, you get hypothermia,” Michael Valva responded, prosecutors said, citing the recordings in a hearing two weeks ago.
Shortly thereafter, Thomas was dead — and in an attempt to hide his son’s hypothermia, Valva allegedly placed his body in a warm bath, according to a source with Suffolk County.
Upon arrival at the hospital, Thomas’ body temperature was 76 degrees, indicating he may have been dead for hours.
Thomas and his brothers had been living with their father, Pollina, and her three daughters after Valva gained custody of them in 2017. In the months leading up to Thomas’ death, 17 calls were made to a child abuse hotline about the boys, according to records obtained by the New York Post.
PEOPLE could not reach Pollina’s attorney on Thursday, while Valva’s attorney declined to comment. Thomas’ brothers are now in the custody his mother.