The former NYPD cop who allegedly left his 8-year-old autistic son locked in a freezing garage also kept a family dog in a heated room inside at the same time, pre-trial testimony revealed Monday.
Michael Valva and his then-fiancee Angela Pollina have been charged with murder in the Jan. 17, 2020 death of Thomas Valva with authorities accusing the couple of locking the child overnight in a frigid garage on while it was 19 degrees outside.
Housekeeper Tyrene Rodriguez testified at a pre-trial hearing on Long Island about the boy’s final moments, noting she got her cleaning supplies from a mud room where the dog “Bella” slept, WPIX11 reported.
“And that’s a heated room?” the Suffolk County prosecutor asked Rodriguez, according to WPIX.
“Yes,” Rodriguez answered.
Rodriguez told the court she had heard Thomas crying when she arrived that morning to clean Valva’s house and saw the couple escort Thomas to the basement. Minutes later, Pollina returned frantically saying Thomas wasn’t breathing, the housekeeper said.
Rodriguez helped while Valva tried to administer CPR to the dying boy, with the housekeeper leaning Thomas’ head back to open his airways.
“He was very cold,” she said, according to Newsday. “He was damp.”
Defense attorneys have challenged whether investigators had permission to search the family home. The pre-trial hearing dealt with whether or not some evidence should be admitted in Valva’s murder trial.
Next-door neighbor Laura Lauretta, also testifying at the hearing, said she witnessed Pollina in bed at Long Island Community Hospital after the boy’s death.
“She was groggy,” Lauretta said, according to Newsday. “She was sleeping. She was moaning.”
Valva and Pollina have both pleaded not guilty to second degree murder charges.