×
In A Bid To Save His Pension, NYPD Officer Charged With Murder of Autistic Son Resigns

In A Bid To Save His Pension, NYPD Officer Charged With Murder of Autistic Son Resigns

"He executed paperwork in that regard today, which protects his benefits and his pension," his lawyer stated.

Image Source: GoFundMe/In Memory of Thomas Valva

Michael Valva, from Long Island, has been a part of the New York Police Department for 15 years. He is also accused of his son Thomas Valva's death.  According to reports, the 8-year-old autistic boy was allegedly forced to spend a cold January night in a frigid garage, sleeping on the floor with his brother.  He died of hypothermia. Michael has now resigned from the NYPD in a bid to save his pension. An NYPD spokesperson confirmed to PEOPLE that he resigned from the force on Wednesday. 

 



 

 

Michael's lawyer John LoTurco told Newsday that his client made this decision himself because he wanted to preserve what he's already contributed to his pension. Said LoTurco to the paper: "He executed paperwork in that regard today, which protects his benefits and his pension. There's no admission of any wrongdoing. It allows him to forgo any disciplinary hearing and in exchange, he will no longer receive any salary or any future benefits." Michael, 41, was charged along with his fiancee, Angela Pollina, 43, for second-degree murder soon after Thomas' death on January 17th. Both have entered not guilty pleas.

 



 

 

Prosecutors reveal that Thomas and his older brother, Anthony, were forced to sleep on the floor of the garage at their father's home in Center Moriches, New York. Both boys, who are on the autism spectrum, were allegedly not given blankets or pillows, despite being made to sleep on the cold, hard floor. The next morning, on his way to school, Thomas lost consciousness and collapsed. It is understood that his body temperature had dropped to 76 degrees. Pollina's three daughters were also living in the same home. 

 



 

 

Michael and Pollina are both in jail without bond. The police also recovered a recording from that morning, which clearly showed the couple's alleged indifference to Thomas' welfare. When Thomas' brother asks, "Why can't Thomas walk?" in the recording, Pollina allegedly responds, "When you're washed with cold water and it's freezing, you get hypothermia." Later on in the audio, when asked why Thomas was falling, Michael allegedly says, "Because he's cold. Boo f–king hoo." Thomas' mother, Justyna Zubko-Valva, previously told PEOPLE that her boys suffered emotional, physical and mental abuse while living with their father. 

 



 

 

Prior to Thomas’ death, Suffolk County’s Child Protective Services received 17 calls about possible abuse at the Valva home, but not a single call was taken seriously. “They got the complaint about the children sleeping in the garage,” Zubko-Valva tells PEOPLE. She adds that other complaints — including some from teachers — about the boys “looking for food in the garbage at school” and “coming in with urine-soaked clothing” were also ignored. “Those allegations should’ve been automatically investigated and the boys should have been removed from that abusive situation,” Zubko-Valva says. “But that never happened. The system’s designed to protect the abusers and fails loving, caring parents.”

 



 

 

The heartbroken mom said that CPS failed to protect her children. Zubko-Valva continued: “In everybody’s mind is this question: If this was so preventable, why did this happen? I was really begging these people to help me before this happened.” Of the Valva home, she says: “It was a house of horrors. Tommy was brutally tortured … They were monsters who took pleasure in abusing my children and controlling them. It is beyond sick.” Thankfully, Anthony sustained no injuries from that night. He and his younger brother, Andrew, are now in Zubko-Valva’s care.

 



 

 

She revealed that both of them will now need “long-term therapy” to cope with the alleged abuse they survived. “The healing process has started, but it will take a long time for my children to heal, and who knows if they ever will?” Zubko-Valva says. Zubko-Valva, a corrections officer who immigrated from Poland, says her mission in life is to now make sure that her boys recover from this ordeal and to make sure that Thomas did not die in vain.

 



 

 

His death, she explains, “is motivating so many people to fight for the rights of all the children and make sure all the children are going to be protected and safe — that nothing bad is going to happen to them.” 

 



 

 


 
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Recommended for you