A routine child welfare investigation led to the discovery of a toddler's corpse buried in a grave in the backyard of a Long Island home on Saturday.
State police unearthed the remains outside a tidy house in Farmingdale after Officials with Suffolk County's Child Protective Services visited the family and realizing one of the couple’s three boys was missing.
They grew concerned when the family couldn't account for the whereabouts of a child born in 2009.
Police say the boy’s mother Heather Kowalczik admitted her son, Justin Kowalczik, who was about 17-months old, died two years ago after the family moved to Farmingdale from Orange County. After further probing she revealed a possible location for his body.
'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.'
Obtaining a search warrant and investigating the property’s backyard, it was there on the fence line they found the boy in a 3-foot grave resting near a soccer goal and children's toys.
The circumstances of his death remained unclear Saturday while foul play is not immediately suspected.
Justin, the youngest half-brother of two older boys – Robert, 9, and Alex, 6 – died in the summer of 2010, according to police. Authorities said it’s still unclear why the family kept it a secret.
Police have listed Kowalczik’s boyfriend, Robert Rodriguez who is the father of her two older boys, as a person of interest.
On Friday, police released an Amber Alert for the oldest boy, Robert, after he failed to show up for school and Rodriguez was also found missing. He was later recovered safely
As of Saturday afternoon, Rodriguez has 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.
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