Michael Valva and Angela Pollina are the Long Island couple who are accused of killing Valva’s 8-year-old son, Thomas Valva, on January 17. Charges against Valva, 40, and Pollina, 42, were announced on January 24.
Police were called to a home on the morning of January 17 after they received calls of a child who had fallen in a driveway in the Center Moriches neighborhood of Long Island. Thomas Valva was rushed to Long Island Community Hospital where he was pronounced dead. The New York Post reports that Thomas Valva, who was autistic, died of hypothermia after being forced to spend a night in the garage.
Prior to his arrest, Michael Valva released a statement through his lawyer, via CBS New York, in which he said he was in the process of divorcing Thomas’s mother, Justyna Valva. Michael Valva and Angela Pollina were arrested at the same home where Thomas Valva was found dead.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Thomas Valva’s Mother Said His Death Would ‘Not Be in Vain’
Justyna told CBS New York following her son’s death, “I miss him so much. Thomas was this little 8-year-old boy, my baby, who always was joyful, always stands for the truth, play his cars, read books, loved songs.”
Justyna added that her son’s death “is not going to be in vain.” Justyna also said, “Unfortunately, I saw him now just looking at his body in a medical examiner’s office. And I do pray that one day we’re just going to meet again in heaven. I know he’s in heaven. I know he’s my angel and I’m going to miss him so much.”
2. Michael Valva Had Set Up a GoFundMe Page for His Son’s Funeral & Has Raised Nearly $15,000
A GoFundMe page had been set up to help to pay the funeral costs for Thomas Valva. The page was set up by “Michael Gerard.” Michael Valva’s middle name is Gerard. Gerard wrote on that page, “It is with great sadness that I must bury my 8 year old son. He passed recently due to a tragic accident. At this time I am not able to handle these unforeseen costs on my own and if there is any help anyone can provide we would greatly appreciate it. In lieu of floral arrangements we ask that a donation be made instead.”
In an update on that page on January 21, Michael Gerard wrote, “Thank you for your generosity and support. Myself and Angela will be handling the money together and all the funds are going to go towards funeral expenses.” At the time of writing, the page has raised $14,135. The original goal of the page was $10,000. There were 246 donors to the cause.
3. Justyna Valva Has Not Had Custody of Her Children for 2 Years
Online records show that Michael Valva was paid $85,292 in salary in 2018. Those records show that Valva has been an active officer since January 2018. Legal documents show that Michael Valva and his estranged wife have been involved in court battles since November 2016. Justyna told CBS New York that she has not had custody of her children for over two years.
In a separate interview with NBC New York, Justyna alleged that her husband had beat her sons, starved them and had locked them in the garage. Justyna works as a corrections officer in New York City.
4. Michael Valva Proposed to Angela Pollina at a Yankees Game in 2016
According to an online profile, Valva proposed to Pollina during a New York Yankees game. Valva said that because Pollina is a “huge popcorn fanatic,” he hid the ring in her popcorn. Valva added, “When she reached down far enough she was very surprised to find a black box in the bag, and that’s when I proposed to her. She said YES! and the Yankees won the game as well! We were all winners that day!” The couple got engaged in October 2016.
Pollina is from Franklin Square, New York, according to her Facebook page. Pollina attended H. Frank Carey Junior-Senior High School. Ashworth College between 2003 and 2005. Pollina says that she retired in 2017 but prior to that she worked in administration at two New York-area hospitals. The cover photo on Pollina’s Facebook page shows that she has three daughters. While posts on Michael Valva’s Facebook page, show that he has three sons.
5. Justyna Valva Said in November 2018 That She Wasn’t Sure if Her Children Were Still Alive
In January 2018, Justyn Valva, uploaded a video to her Twitter page in which she says Michael Valva purposely squeezed the hands of their children in order to make them cry. Justyn’s handle on that page is StandAgainstChildAbuse. The last post on the page, from November 2018, reads, “I don’t even know if my children are still alive at this point. Please pray for my family and share this post with everyone to go viral and help my children receive justice that they deserve.”
In a previous post, Justyn wrote, “The Child Protective Services and the Court are protecting the abusers of my children and swipe everything under the rug. I am heartbroken because my children are being purposely hidden from me, and unlawfully I am not being allowed to even see my children on Thanksgiving.”