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The 911 audio of a former New York police officer’s desperate call to dispatchers the day his son died of hypothermia last year was played in court this week, leading the accused father to break down in tears.
Michael Valva, the former transit officer charged with murder after the torturous death of his 8-year-old boy, Thomas, teared up at Suffolk County Supreme Court on Tuesday as a recording of the 42-year-old's Jan. 17, 2020 emergency call was played for jurors.
"I need an ambulance immediately, my son's not breathing,” Valva frantically told dispatchers during the call, according to News 12. “He fell down and banged his head. I don’t know if he’s breathing or not … His heart stopped. He banged his head pretty good.”
The couple are alleged to have locked the boy in a garage overnight as temperatures dipped below 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
Valva, who is heard saying that his son had trouble standing and had previously fallen face-first onto concrete, also told the 911 operator the boy had “stopped breathing.”
“His belly is filling up, like it’s filling up with air,” Valva told the dispatcher.
He also explained that his son had cracked his head in the shower.
“He banged his head,” Valva stated. “He was OK. I got him dressed.”
When emergency responders got to the residence, the father could be heard possibly administering CPR. He openly begged, “please help me.”
Thomas was rushed to hospital where he was later pronounced dead. His body was approximately 76 degrees Fahrenheit around the time of his death, officials said. The young boy lived with autism.
Prosecutors have described the family’s Long Island home as “house of horrors.”
“The depravity of these defendants is shocking,” Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini said. “They caused the death of this little boy and then they watched him die.”
Sini described the case as "one of the worst crimes" he'd ever seen.
Surveillance footage captured Michael Valva mocking his son shortly before his death.
Child Protective Services reportedly received at least two dozen incoming hotline calls regarding Thomas and two of his siblings prior to his death, the New York Times reported.
This week was apparently the first time Valva had heard the 911 recording since his son's death, according to his legal team.
First responders testified this week, saying that they didn’t observe Valva giving first aid. Jurors also heard of the child’s dire condition after they'd arrived at the home.
“He was cold to the touch,” Officer Cassidy Lessard told the court.
Valva, who was hired by the NYPD in 2005, resigned from the force last year, a spokesperson for the department confirmed to Oxygen.com.
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