A New York policeman and his fiancée have been charged with murder after his eight-year-old son effectively froze to death in their garage.
Thomas Valva and his 10-year-old brother were malnourished and neglected “in a manner that was nothing short of cruel, callous, wanton and evil”, prosecutors said.
“The boys were undernourished. They were literally begging for food at school, eating the crumbs off the table, eating out of the garbage cans.”
Thomas’s body temperature was just 24C when he arrived at hospital on January 17, and he was declared dead soon after.
“When asked if he needed anything at the hospital after his son was ultimately pronounced [dead], the defendant replied, ‘I’ve been through more stressful things than this,’” the prosecutor told court.
His father Michael, a NYPD transit officer, dismissed his son’s freezing conditions in a text message to his live-in fiancée Angela Pollina.
“I have zero clothing for him,” he wrote.
“F—–g a piece of s–t Thomas. He’s not going anywhere.”
Teachers reported bringing food to school to feed the boys. The elder brother lost 9kg in the space of a year.
They were not allowed to use the bathroom and were made to wear pull-up nappies. If they soiled themselves, they were made to sleep in the garage.
“It’s clearly a house of horrors,” District Attorney Tim Sini told reporters.
Both sons were described as being autistic but high-functioning, sweet and loving children.
Valva and Pollina have been charged with second-degree murder and four counts of endangering the welfare of a child.