The body of 17-month-old Justin Kowalczik, whose death in 2010 was never reported, was found buried in his mother's backyard.
A Long Island mother of three admitted to burying her youngest son in the backyard of her Farmingdale home. Justin Kowalczik’s mother never reported him missing, and her boyfriend, Robert Rodriguez, has been named a person of interest.
The young child’s body was unearthed following an investigation to check on the welfare of Heather Kowalczik’s 6-year old autistic son Alex . Kowalczik has another older son, Robert Jr. and Rodriguez is the father of both boys. Justin was reportedly not Rodriguez’s son.
Kowalczik initially told police that Justin was with family in Orange County, but ultimately confessed to his death and subsequent backyard burial, and showed police where his body had been covered with three feet of earth near a fence. Rodriguez is reported to be not cooperating with the investigation, was pursued by police after removing Robert Jr. from school and fleeing the area. Although he was taken into custody, neither he or Kowalczik have been arrested.
Kowalczik told reporters that Rodriguez was abusive towards her, and neighbors reported that she would leave her home when Rodriguez came to visit his sons. During her interview with police, she admitted that Justin had been buried in the backyard two years ago, shortly after the family moved from Orange County, and she did not report his death.
State Police Major Patrick Regan said without a cause of death and a missing child report, the death would be investigated as suspicious. Kowalczik’s other sons have been taken into the custody of county child welfare services.
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