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EXCLUSIVE: PIX11 tracks down man suspected of burying baby in Long Island backyard

Posted at 9:05 PM, Jun 03, 2014
and last updated 2014-06-03 21:05:58-04

LEVITTOWN, N.Y. (PIX11) — PIX11 Investigates has tracked down the man who’s suspected of burying a toddler in a Farmingdale backyard in 2010.

Robert Rodriguez, who was never charged with any crime, pulled up to a house in Levittown, driving a black SUV with Florida license plates.

Rodriguez, a former appliance salesman, was wearing work clothes as he walked toward a white fence leading to a backyard apartment unit.

When PIX 11 called out his name, Rodriguez bolted for the gate and locked us out.

Rodriguez was never charged in connection to the baby's death.

Rodriguez was never charged in connection to the baby Justin’s death.

PIX11 had one, new question for Rodriguez: Why did he tell a child caseworker in 2012 that his girlfriend’s youngest son, Justin, had been given up for adoption?

Justin, at the time, was actually buried in the backyard of the Farmingdale home.

Shortly after the caseworker had that exchange with Rodriguez in October 2012, state police turned up at the rental home in Farmingdale. That’s when Rodriguez’s girlfriend, Heather Kowalczik, told police that Justin had died in July 2010 and that Rodriguez had buried the toddler in the backyard.

Justin was only 17-months-old at the time. State police dug up the backyard and found Justin’s remains on October 6, 2012.

Justin was just 17-months-old when he died.

Justin was just 17-months-old when he died.

Robert Rodriguez was the biological father of Heather Kowalczik’s two older boys, but he wasn’t Justin’s father.

Kowalczik had moved from Orange County with her three sons to live with Rodriguez in Farmingdale, Long Island in early July 2010.

Investigators believe Justin was dead and buried within a week of arriving in Farmingdale with his family.

Once Justin’s remains were discovered in 2012, Robert Rodriguez retained a lawyer and never cooperated with police.

He later moved to Hernando County in Florida. PIX11 just learned he moved into the Levittown house about four months ago.

A woman who lives upstairs in the home said Rodriguez wasn’t paying rent and that she “was asked if he could stay there.”