FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – The Farmingdale, Long Island home where a toddler’s remains were found buried in the backyard has been emptied of its contents.
Police said the remains of Justin Kowalczik had been buried in a shallow grave behind 1 Hallock Street for more than two years but the family never reported the 17-month old child dead or missing.
WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reports
The mother’s boyfriend, Robert Rodriguez, has been named a person of interest in the case. Rodriguez’s lawyer said his client needed the items.
“I took his personal items his clothing, his toiletries, he’s got to continue with his life and living,” attorney Byron Divins told WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall.
The owner of the rental home said he is horrified by the finding.
“How do you take a kid and bring him over here and bury him in my backyard? If it was your house, what would you do?” the upset landlord Luigi Lancia told Hall.
The dig began Friday night, two days after there was an indication something was wrong.
Suffolk County Child Protective Services agents went to the home on Wednesday, Oct. 3 to check up on the family’s three children. They were able to account for two of them but not the boy born in 2009.
“The remains we found were those of an infant human,” New York State Police Major Patrick Regan said at a press conference on Saturday.
“My backyard, I don’t even want to walk back there. Who’s going to cut my grass?” said Lancia.
Rodriguez is the father of Heather Kowalczik’s two oldest children, ages six and nine, but he is not Justin’s father.
Kowalczik and Rodriguez have not been back to the house since the remains were found, Hall reported.
Police said Rodriguez is not cooperating with the investigation.
“He’s not being questioned by police and he’s doing as well as you can imagine,” Divins told Hall. “The police consider him a person of interest but they have not held him in custody.”
Authorities continue to wait for autopsy results to determine how the boy died. No arrests have been made in the case.