Thomas Valva in red shirt, smiling

Thomas Valva: Teachers of Boy Frozen to Death in Unheated Garage ‘Flooded CPS with calls’ About Possible Abuse Before His Death

A New York principal testified this week in connection with the death of Thomas Valva, a Suffolk County boy allegedly abused and killed by his father, Michael Valva, whose currently on trial for the child’s murder.

East Moriches Elementary School Principal Edward Schneyer testified Tuesday that six children from the Valva and the Polina family (Angela Pollina is Thomas’ stepmother at the time of his death and Michael Valva’s wife) attended the school. Schneyer said he knew the family well including Thomas and his 10-year-old brother, Anthony, who were both autistic.

Schneyer said that within the span of one school year, Thomas’ brother Anthony lost around 20 pounds, adding that their food had been monitored. Further, according to News12 the Bronx, both children were initially potty trained when they started school but both eventually started attending classes in pull-up training diapers.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, 43-year-old Michael Valva told a 911 dispatcher on January 17, 2020, that Thomas had fallen on his face and lost consciousness.

Valva, however, allegedly forced Thomas to sleep in an unheated garage in sub-freezing temperatures at their Long Island home, ultimately leading to the child’s death. The boy allegedly had no mattress and was forced to sleep on the bare concrete floor.

Thomas was pronounced dead at the Long Island Community Hospital on January 17, 2020, at around 10:28 a.m.

Michael Valva and Angela Pollina/Suffolk County Police Department

Schneyer said both boys would consistently show up to school with bruises and scrapes. Meanwhile, the boys’ behavior began to change, Schneyer said. The school “flooded CPS with calls” about concerns for the children, which resulted in Michael Valva threatening to sue the school for harassment.

Michael Valva’s defense attorney, John LoTurco, told the court that despite any allegations of neglect, Michael never wanted his son to die and isn’t guilty of murder.

“Everyone needs to be focused on not the neglect, child endangerment, but rather the depraved murder charge. There is no evidence to show that Mr. Valva wanted his child to die.”

Earlier this month, prosecutors told the jury last week that Thomas and Anthony suffered years of abuse at the hands of their father, often arriving at school with bruises and scratching — and hungry.

“They were observed at school literally eating crumbs off the floor,” assistant Suffolk County District Attorney Laura Newcombe said.

Newcombe also related a text Valva sent to his now ex-fiancée, 45-year-old Angela Pollina.

“I will beat them until they bleed,” he wrote, according to Newcombe. “It is the only thing that works.”

Valva’s attorney laid the blame at Pollina’s feet, saying she constantly told him he was being too lenient with the boys and that Valva was desperate to make things work. He painted her as the wicked stepmother.

“You are making it too comfortable for them,” she allegedly told Valva, according to attorney Anthony La Pinta. “Let them be uncomfortable. That will teach them to control themselves.”

Valva, La Pinta said during his opening statement, “never ever thought that either of his boys could die from being in that garage,” WCBS reported.

When Valva arrived at the hospital to see his son, he had no emotion, again, Lambert continued during testimony Thursday.

“There were no tears. There was no emotion,” Lamber continued, recalling when the suspect saw his son in a bed at a Long Island hospital.

“Somebody, a staff member came into the room and asked him if he needed a drink, a chair, to make a phone call. He turned and said, ‘No, I’ve been in more stressful situations.’”

The trial continues. Check back for updates.

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[Featured image: Thomas Valva/Handout]

Additional reporting by Ellen Killoran and KC Wildmoon