Updated 10/08/2012 10:05 AM
Remains of toddler from Orange County found on Long Island
Remains of a toddler originally from Orange County were found in a shallow grave on Long Island on Saturday, according to police. A routine child welfare checkup at the home led to the discovery. YNN’s Alexandra Weishaupt has more.
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MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. -- After initially telling police that 17-month-old Justin Kowalczik was in Orange County, Heather Kowalczik revealed her son was buried in a three-foot grave in the backyard of the family’s Farmingdale home. His death was never reported.
Kowalczik left Middletown about two years ago and moved to Farmingdale with her boyfriend Robert Rodriguez, their two sons, and the toddler. Rodriguez is not the father of Justin, and is now a person of interest in the case according to police.
“Horrible,” said Doris Griggs. “How could anybody do that?”
A recent routine child protective services checkup on one of the other children revealed Justin was unaccounted for, leading his mother to inform police about the backyard grave.
And the recent news is sending shockwaves through Middletown as former Charles Street neighbors are appalled by the recent discovery.
“She was always in the back playing with them,” said Audrey Gentile. “Its disgusting. Cause like I said Bobby would always be in that window when we were sitting on that porch and my brother in law would wave to him."
But, Audrey Gentile and several others said they were unaware Kowalczik even had a third child. And while her aunt and uncle said they knew, they don’t know who his actual father is, nor have they spoken with Kowalczik in three years.
“We saw it on TV just like everybody else,” said Ziggy Kowalczik. “We don’t know nothing.”
Police are now awaiting an autopsy report to reveal the toddler's cause of death. The two other children are in the care of child protective services. It is unclear at this point why the child’s death was never reported. Police are in the early stages of their investigation, but said its ongoing.