Written by Christy Hinko Friday, 12 October 2012 00:00
The Suffolk County CPS investigation into Justin’s whereabouts, led them upstate to enlist the help of Orange County Child Protective Services.
The New York State Police, Troop L Headquarters in East Farmingdale, near Republic Airport, were called in to assistance by the state police unit in Middletown, New York, to interview Rodriguez and Kowalczik when the toddler could not be located upstate.
According to state police, Kowalczik said that Justin died shortly after she relocated to Long Island in July 2010. She failed to report his death for more than a year, according to police. Police said she did give the location of the toddler’s remains, buried in the backyard of the Hallock Road property in East Farmingdale, at the residence that she shares with Rodriguez and the other two children.
State police obtained a search warrant and began digging a section of the backyard on Friday, Oct. 5. Police located the toddler’s remains in a shallow grave, along the backyard fenceline at the Hallock Road residence.
Police then identified Rodriguez as a person of interest. Although Rodriguez is not the father of the deceased toddler, he and Kowalczik have two son’s together, the six-year-old who sparked the initial CPS investigation, and a nine-year-old.
Police said that in the course of the investigation, it was reported that the couple’s nine-year-old son was not in attendance, but removed from the home by Rodriguez when the investigation began. Their whereabouts were unknown, and an Amber Alert was activated. Rodriguez and the son were located a short time later; the boy was unharmed, according to police. Kowalczik and the two boys have been removed from the home, to protective services, according to police.
On Wednesday, Oct. 9 at approximately 10:45 a.m., Luigi Lancia, the landlord of the Hallock Road dwelling, the residence where Rodriguez and Kowalczik were renting, arrived with packing boxes and tape in order to evict the couple from the house. Within an hour, Rodriguez’s personal effects had been removed by his own attorney, Byron Divins, Jr. of Divins & Divins PC in Garden City.
“The landlord does not want him [Rodriguez] here anymore, so as an accommodation we’ve taken his personal items and vacated the premises; Mr. Rodriguez will not be coming back,” said Divins.
According to Divins, police have not questioned Rodriguez. “At this time, my understanding is, police consider him a person of interest, but they have not held him in custody.” The family’s remaining things were moved to the curb by the landlord later in the day.
Neighbors of Rodriguez and Kowalczik who were outside of their own homes, observing the eviction, declined comment when approached by the Farmingdale Observer.
A small memorial of flowers and a spool of blue ribbon, which symbolizes protecting children, has begun to appear at the front yard driveway fence. Next to it, a teddy bear with a note attached reads, “Rest in peace now little one.”
The Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s autopsy and the state police’s investigations were still ongoing as of Tuesday, Oct. 9. No one has been charged with the death of Justin Kowalczik as of Oct. 9. Anyone with information about the case is urged to contact the state police, Troop L Headquarters at (631) 756-3390.