Suffolk County prosecutors detail alleged abuse in death of 8-year-old Long Island boy

New disturbing details were revealed Thursday in the case against a Long Island couple accused of murdering 8-year-old Thomas Valva.

He was allegedly forced to sleep in an unheated garage in below-freezing temperatures overnight and later died.

Michael Valva, 40, and Angela Pollina, 42, both of Center Moriches are each facing a single charge of Murder in the Second Degree and four counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child.   They were indicted in Suffolk County on Thursday. 

“Unfortunately as we dig deeper into this case, we are learning more about how horrible these two defendants allegedly were to these children, and we are not going to stop until we get to the truth,” District Attorney Timothy Sini said. 

Authorities say that at roughly 9:40 a.m. on January 17, Suffolk County Police officers responded to a 911 call saying that Thomas Valva had fallen in the driveway of his family’s residence. He was taken to Long Island Community Hospital where he was pronounced dead. 

An investigation by police revealed evidence that Thomas had allegedly been forced by the couple to sleep in the garage of their home. Upon his arrival at the hospital, Thomas’ internal body temperature was 76.1 degrees. The Office of the Suffolk County Medical Examiner determined Thomas’ cause of death to be hypothermia.


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The investigation included a forensic analysis of surveillance cameras installed in various rooms throughout Valva and Pollina’s residence. One of the surveillance cameras was positioned to record the floor of the garage and was labeled "Kids’ Room."  Surveillance video allegedly showed Thomas and his brother sleeping in the garage without a mattress, pillows or sheets on the night of Jan. 15.

The investigation also revealed evidence of alleged physical abuse and neglect by Valva and Pollina between September 2017 and January 2020, including reports from the East Moriches School District alleging that on numerous occasions, Thomas and his brother arrived at school hungry, cold, soiled, or marked with scratches, bruises, and cuts.

Following the investigation, Valva and Pollina were arrested by Suffolk County Police on Jan. 24.

Valva and Pollina were arraigned on the indictment Thursday and have been remanded without bail. They are due back in court on Feb. 24.

If convicted of the top count, Valva and Pollina each face a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison.