Thomas Valva in red shirt, smiling

Michael Valva Trial: Mom Asked for Help Before Former Cop Allegedly Starved Young Son, Let Him Freeze to Death Inside Garage

The mother of a slain New York boy said he cries for help were ignored, leading to the death of her 8-year-old son, Thomas Valva.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, during opening statements Monday at the Suffolk County Court in Riverhead, Assistant District Attorney Laura Newcombe told the jury that Michael Valva, who’s currently on trial and facing murder charges, told his former fiancee, Angela Pollina, that he would “beat them until they bleed,” in reference to his two young sons.

Valva added that “it is the only thing that works,” Newcomb said.

Valva’s son, Thomas, passed away in January 2020 after Valva and Pollina allegedly forced him to sleep in an unheated garage in sub-freezing temperatures at their Long Island home.

They’re also accused of starving the children by withholding food as punishment.

Thomas’s mother Justyna Zubko-Valva has two other sons with Michael Valva. In 2020, she told CrimeOnline that she long suspected her husband was abusing their children, but that her frequent reports to law enforcement and social service agencies were ignored or dismissed.

She said she hadn’t seen the boys in two years, as her husband was granted full custody of the children after making what she said was a false complaint about her to CPS.

“I could not understand why they protected the abuser of children,” she said. “They did absolutely nothing.”

Records of abuse complaints and custody hearing transcripts obtained by CBS New York appear to corroborate Zubko-Valva’s claims.

In one of the videos, Thomas Valva says, “Daddy said to me that I can’t listen to you and I can’t hug you and I can’t say ‘I love you mommy,’ and ‘I miss you mommy,’” and “Daddy’s going to put me outside.”

But according to the court records, the judge appeared to wave the mother away when she attempted to submit the flash drive.

Newcombe told jurors that the videos would play in court and would show the suspects abusing the children for years.

“Through these cameras, you will see the abuse they endured at the hands of these defendants,” Newcombe said, adding that the children were  “slapped, punched and thrown downstairs – showing up to school with scratches and bruises,” News 12 reports.

Michael Valva and Pollina were originally slated to go on trial at the same time with each defendant having their own jury, because of their antagonistic defenses.

Witness testimony is scheduled to start Wednesday afternoon. Check back for updates.

For the latest true crime and justice news, subscribe to the ‘Crime Stories with Nancy Grace’ podcast.

Join Nancy Grace for her new online video series designed to help you protect what you love most — your children.

[Featured image: Thomas Valva/Handout]

Additional reporting by Ellen Killoran