But Suffolk County prosecutors say Valva and his live-in fiancee, Angela Pollina, were lying about the circumstances of Thomas’ distress. They were charged with murder after the medical examiner found Thomas died of hypothermia; the boy was forced to sleep in a freezing garage on a 19-degree-Fahrenheit night.
The 911 call was played at a Tuesday pre-trial hearing, where a judge will decide on defense motions to keep certain evidence from being presented to a jury.
“He fell down and banged his head,” Valva told the first 911 operator. “He’s OK, I talked to him, I gave him a shower to try and help him out a little bit. He stopped breathing.”
The 911 call was transferred to a dispatcher from Fire Rescue Company 50, who asked Valva his address.
“I’m a police officer with the City of New York,” he said after telling them the address. “My son, I don’t know if he’s breathing or not. I don’t know if his heart stopped. He fell down on his way to the bus; he banged his head pretty good. I brought him in and I’m doing CPR right now.”
Valva told the dispatcher his son’s age.
Shortly after, you can hear Valva counting the compressions he’s applying to his son’s chest, as the first 911 operator stayed on the phone, while an ambulance was sent.
“His belly is filling up a lot as I’m doing CPR,” he told the operator. “Is that normal?”
More than five minutes into the call, Valva sounded more alarmed, yelling into the phone, “ETA!”–which means “estimated time of arrival,” for the ambulance.
“Less than a minute out,” the dispatcher replied.
A woman’s voice, that was allegedly Pollina’s, can be heard talking in the background, as Valva tells the dispatcher “We’re in the basement, by the way.”
When the dispatcher asked Valva if his son had a medical history, the cop replied, “Just autism spectrum.”
Thomas and his older brother were both diagnosed with the condition. Valva’s three sons were living with the officer and his fiancee in a home that was later called a “house of horrors” by Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini.
After a bitter divorce from the boys’ mother, Justyna Zubko-Valva, the police officer was granted custody by a Nassau County judge to have his sons live with him and Pollina in Center Moriches, Long Island, New York.
But teachers at the boys’ new school sounded alarm bells right away, making at least 20 calls to the New York State child abuse hotline, complaining Thomas and his older brother came to school with pull up diapers and craved food so much that they scrounged around in garbage cans for scraps.
Prosecutor Kerriann Kelly said at one early court hearing that Thomas and his brother went to school in the fall of 2019 with bruises on their bodies, and Thomas had “hair pulled from his head at the roots.”
Valva and Pollina were arrested for murder after RING cameras from nearly every room in the house revealed two days of horrific abuse Thomas allegedly suffered before his death.
One camera allegedly showed Pollina dragging Thomas down a staircase on Jan. 15, 2020 because he soiled his pants, before then pushing him into a frigid garage. Valva was on duty that night as a transit cop in Queens.
When the fiancee later texted Valva that Thomas was not looking good, with the camera showing him shaking on the garage floor and needing to go to the bathroom, Office Valva allegedly responded, “F–k the piece of s–t, Thomas! He is not going anywhere.”