Police discover remains of young boy in Farmingdale
FARMINGDALE (WABC) -- A routine child welfare investigation led to the discovery Saturday of a toddler's corpse buried in the backyard of a Long Island home.
State police unearthed the remains in the dead of night at a tidy house in Farmingdale after being told by the boy's mother that he died two years ago. The circumstances of his death remained unclear Saturday.
The boy, Justin Kowalczik, was about 17-months-old when he died in the summer of 2010, police said. Authorities said the family never reported the child's death.
"It is absolutely a suspicious death and it is being investigated as such," said State Police Major Patrick Regan. "We don't have a cause of death, and to our knowledge, there was never a report made of the child being missing."
Investigators were trying to determine how the child died and why the family kept it a secret.
Officials with Suffolk County's Child Protective Services agency initially went to the home Wednesday to check on the health of one of the woman's three children. They grew concerned when the family couldn't account for the whereabouts of a child born in 2009.
That led to a police interview of the mother, Heather Kowalczik, who told them the child had died shortly after the family moved to Farmingdale from Orange County two years ago, Regan said.
On Friday, police sought Kowalczik's boyfriend, Robert Rodriguez, who is the father of her two older children, ages 6 and 9, but not
of Justin. As of Saturday afternoon, he had refused to answer questions, Regan said. "He did not come in willingly. He is not cooperating," Regan said.
Neither Rodriguez nor Kowalczik had been charged with any crimes.
Kowalczik's two surviving children were in the custody of county child welfare agents, police said.
When neighborhood resident Meade Jackson was asked how she would describe the Rodriguez', she said that they were a nice family.
Investigators tell Eyewitness News that the investigation began after a tip from state police in Middletown, New York.
Get Eyewitness News Delivered
amber alert, farmingdale, long island, nassau county, local news
- School bus collides with taxi in Brooklyn 44 min ago
- AccuWeather: March Roller Coaster 24 min ago
- Live: Eyewitness News on 7online streamed live!
- Get WATCH ABC for your mobile device
- Fed investigators probe Port Authority chairman
- Missing Brooklyn boy found safe on subway 58 min ago
- Metro-North worker fatally struck by train in NYC 15 min ago
- Newtown shooter's father speaks out for 1st time 42 min ago
- Malaysian plane mystery continues 41 min ago
- Photos: Malaysia Airlines missing plane
- Oheka Castle owner speaks out in video 39 min ago
- Tarrytown Tappan Zee ramp closure begins
- Phil Jackson likely taking Knicks job, ESPN reports
- Photos: Brooklyn school bus accident
- School bus collides with taxi in Brooklyn
44 min ago
- Missing Brooklyn boy found safe on subway
58 min ago
- AccuWeather: March Roller Coaster
24 min ago
- Oheka Castle owner speaks out in video
39 min ago