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Investigation: Suffolk County Child Abuse Victim One Of Hundreds

Thomas Valva Funeral
Kevin Hagen
Justyna Zubko-Valva and her children after the funeral for her son Thomas Valva, 8, at St. Elizabeth's Church in Melville, N.Y., in Jan. The boy's father Michael Valva and his fiancee, Angela Pollina, are charged with Thomas's death.

An investigation by the Albany Times Union found Suffolk County urged New York investigators to suppress a report about the death of Thomas Valva, the 8-year-old boy who died after he was allegedly abused by his father.

Thomas Valva died in January. His father, Michael Valva, who’s an NYPD police officer, allegedly withheld food from him and forced him to sleep in an unheated garage.

The Times Union reportsSuffolk County officials urged the state Office of Children and Family Services not to release its report about whether social workers ran a proper abuse investigation. They say releasing the report would not be in the best interest of Valva’s siblings.

Valva’s mother filed a $200 million lawsuit this summer. She says Suffolk County social workers and school officials ignored evidence that her estranged husband was abusing their children.

The newspaper's investigation combed through a decade of child death cases and found 700 reviews of deaths like Valva’s have been kept secret statewide.

A Suffolk County spokesperson did not respond to WSHU's request for comment.

Desiree reports on the lives of military service members, veterans, and their families for WSHU as part of the American Homefront project. Born and raised in Connecticut, she now calls Long Island home.