EAST FARMINGDALE, Long Island (PIX11) — It was a horrifying discovery on October 6, 2012, in the backyard of a rental home on Hallock Street in East Farmingdale.
Heather Kowalczik, a mother of three boys, guided New York State police to the spot where her youngest son, Justin, had been buried in a shallow grave two years earlier.
Kowalczik told investigators the toddler was just 17-months-old when he died, and that her live-in boyfriend, Robert Rodriguez, had buried him.
Robert Rodriguez was the father of Heather Kowalczik’s two, oldest sons, but not Justin. Kowalczik had told Suffolk County caseworkers that her youngest son was staying with relatives in Orange County.
Pretty soon, authorities learned that wasn’t the case. The young family had moved from Orange County to Suffolk County, Long Island in the summer of 2010. When caseworkers returned to the East Farmingdale house in October 2012 and asked Robert Rodriguez where Justin was, he allegedly said, “Heather gave the baby up for adoption.”
Only when the state police turned up did Heather Kowalczik reveal that the baby was buried in the backyard.
No one has ever been arrested in the case, not even for improper burial of the child. Rodriguez retained a lawyer and never submitted to police questioning. Heather Kowalczik’s two other boys went to live in foster care and she was staying with her father.
The two surviving boys have special needs. The oldest would be 11-years old-now. The middle son is 8. If he had lived, Justin Kowalczik would be 5.
In PIX 11’s Mary Murphy Mystery segment, Mary has new information on the investigation and the first photo of Justin Kowalczik to appear in the media.