Thomas Valva, an eight-year-old autistic boy who died of hypothermia, was laid to rest in Long Island neighborhood of Melville on Thursday.
He died on January 17 after his father, who is a New York cop, allegedly starved, beaten, and locked him outside.
Around 100 people gathered at the service at St. Elizabeth’s Church, including family, friends, and strangers.
Bishop Andrzej Zglejszewski, who baptized Thomas, also delivered the homily at his funeral.
He believes that Thomas’ death is due to the legal and social system’s failure to protect him, and that his story must inspire change.
The father, Michael Valva and his fiancée Angela Pollina, were both charged with second – degree murder, in which they firmly deny.
His mother, Justyna Zubko-Valva, repeatedly claimed the father had been abusing Thomas and his brothers.
She believes that social services ignored her claims, and instead granted custody to the NYPD cop father during their divorce battle.
The boy’s death prompted an investigation as to how the social services department handled the abuse claims against the father and his fiancée.
Another task force was made to examine how the said department handled cases of children with developmental disabilities.
On January 17, authorities were dispatched to where Thomas had been living after his father claimed that the boy fell in the driveway and lost consciousness while running.
The authorities found the father performing CPR on the boy in the basement, and then they rushed him to Long Island Community Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Autopsy reveled however that the boy died of hypothermia, and the police found audio which shows that the father and his fiancée poked fun at Thomas as he froze to death.
Thomas’ brothers are now in custody of their mother, while the fiancée’s daughters are in custody for their respective biological fathers.
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