Child-abuse hotline ignored 17 calls against NYPD cop whose autistic 8-year-old son was found dead in garage
Documents compiled by the state Office of Children and Family Services showed that only five out of 16 calls were reviewed for over a day, with four "closed as duplicate"
NEW YORK: The child-abuse hotline received nearly 17 emergency calls about New York Police Department (NYPD) officer Michael Valva's children in the months before he murdered his autistic 8-year-old son. Reports state that despite multiple complaints, no action was taken against Valva and his fiancée and the three children continued to stay with them.
Documents compiled by the state Office of Children and Family Services showed that only five out of 16 calls were reviewed for over a day, with four "closed as duplicate". In one of the calls, it was claimed that Valva's children were so hungry that they ate out of the trash, according to the New York Post. It is not yet clear whether the 17th call made to the officials resulted in a longer review, the outlet reported.
The NYPD cop Michael Valva, 48, and his fiancée Angela Pollina, 42, were charged with second-degree murder last month for forcing Valva's son, Thomas Valva, to sleep in their unheated garage at their Long Island home. Thomas later died of hypothermia on January 17. The couple is expected to be arraigned this week on an indictment handed up by a Suffolk County grand jury.
One investigation by child services into Valva and his fiancée were initiated after a call was made to the state's child-abuse hotline, revealing that Thomas had a black eye on January 16, 2019, nearly a year before he tragically passed away.
"The caller who reported Thomas’ swollen and bruised right eye said it didn’t appear injured the previous two days," according to an official narrative. “The stories were conflicting with contradicting explanations and the time frames were off as to how Thomas sustained this black eye. There is a history of physical abuse [sic] in the home involving Thomas so his black eye is suspicious due to the contradicting explanations and conflicting time frames."
When Valva was interviewed by a child-welfare worker, he claimed that Thomas "told him he got the black eye at recess" and was "unaware" of bruises on his older son’s arm and denied using "physical punishment" against his children, the report stated. However, although Valva admitted “using excessive corporal punishment in the past" and school workers expressed their worry that his older son was losing weight, the child-welfare officials eventually deemed the abuse allegations unfounded.
"Safety factors exist, but do not rise to the level of the immediate or impending danger of serious harm," the documents acquired by the outlet states.
A caller on March 18, 2019, claimed that Valva’s kids “are frequently hungry, beg for food, and eat food out of the garbage." However, this was categorized among those “closed as duplicate" cases by the officials.
A probe was announced by Suffolk County last week into how its Department of Social Services (DSS) handled the child-abuse allegations against Valva and Pollina.
On February 27, 2019, a tipster alleged that Thomas’ older brother, who’s also autistic, “has been coming to school with his clothes and backpack soaked in Urine,” leaving him foul-smelling and “extremely cold,” according to a report.