Fatal abuse of an child with autism

Thomas Valva was an eight year old boy from Melville, New York that was abused to death by his father and stepmother. He, along with his brother Anthony were abused because of their autism, by the couple Michael Valva and Angela Polina. Assistant District Attorney Kerriann Kelly explained in detail the mental and physical abuse Thomas faced which included throwing him down the stairs, locking him in a bedroom without a bathroom, depriving him of food, beating him with closed fists, and pulling hair from his head. At school, Thomas and his brother would scavenge for food from underneath the bleachers or garbage cans. Thomas would avoid going outside for recess at school because he wanted to avoid the cold after sleeping in a freezing garage all night, and showing up to school with ice cold hands and cheeks. Sleeping in the garage in frigid temperatures was a very common practice for Thomas and his brother, and they would do so only wearing pajamas.  They were not be allowed to use the bathroom. Thomas died after sleeping in the garage during 19 degree weather, on the cold hard floor. The cause of death was hypothermia, and his body was found at a temperature of 76 degrees.

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