Cop Left His 8-Year-Old Autistic Son Freezing on the Floor While His Dog Slept in a Warm Room

Busayo Ogunjimi
May 19, 2021
07:40 A.M.

An 8-year-old autistic boy died of hypothermia after allegedly being forced to sleep in the family garage in 19F temperatures while their family dog slept in a heated room.


41-year-old Michael Valva, a former NYPD transit cop, has been charged with murder alongside his 42-year-old former fiancée Angela Pollina, who is also charged with second-degree murder for the death of his 8-year-old son.

8-year-old Thomas Valva died of hypothermia after he was asked to sleep in a freezing room as punishment for soiling his pajamas. In contrast, their family dog slept comfortably in a heated room.

A police crime scene tape. | Photo: Pexels

A police crime scene tape. | Photo: Pexels

During a recent pre-trial hearing, the family's housekeeper Tyrene Rodriguez testified against the former couple for their rough treatment of the deceased, who also had autism.

Rodriguez's testimony revealed that the dog, Bella, slept in a warm room where she went to collect her cleaning items. During her testimony, Valva was visibly overcome by emotions as he wiped tears off his face.


The eight-year-old Thomas was reportedly beaten and starved and made to sleep in unfavorable conditions despite needing special care and attention from his parents.

The incident took place early last year, and Rodriguez recalled approaching Pollina about Thomas's situation, and she dismissed her concerns noting that the boy would be okay.

Thomas's death has led his brothers to be placed in the custody of their mother.


The housekeeper said she was told that Thomas fell while trying to catch the bus. When she returned to her cleaning, she saw the couple walking Thomas to the basement where he would spend the night.

After a while, Pollina came calling that Thomas was not breathing, and she heard Valva talking to a 911 operator who told him to do CPR on a hard surface. The 8-year-old was naked, and he had turned blue.


Rodriguez tried to help the former cop stabilize Thomas while he administered CPR. Soon, paramedics arrived on the scene and realized that nothing could be done to change things.

According to the police, cameras and microphones installed in Valva's home captured the moment he and Pollina taunted the little Thomas as he froze to death.


The couple reportedly has six children under their care, and the death of 8-year-old Thomas has prompted an investigation into the social services department and how it handled abuse allegations against the couple and the children under their care.

Thomas's death has led his brothers to be placed in the custody of their mother, while Pollina's daughters were placed in the custody of their biological fathers.

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