NBC 4 New York
A landlord on Long Island has decided to evict the couple involved in the investigation of a toddler's death. And he has harsh words for one of them. Greg Cergol reports
The landlord of the Long Island home where the body of a toddler was found buried Saturday has evicted the couple who rented there for two years.
By day's end, a pile of furniture, kids' toys and garbage bags sat outside the home on Hallock Street in Farmingdale. Other items, like golf clubs and a large tank with an iguana inside, had been given away to bystanders.
"What would you do if it was your yard?" asked landlord Luigi Lancia.
"I rented to what I thought was a nice couple and they turned out to do this in my family’s yard. It’s pitiful, that poor child," added Lancia's wife, Angela.
The toddler's mother, Heather Kowalczik, and her boyfriend Robert Rodriguez did not appear at the home Tuesday to claim any of their belongings. According to State Police, Rodriguez is a person of interest in the 17-month-old boy's death.
"I do not know if he ever met the boy or not," said Rodriguez' lawyer Byron Divins. Divins had arrived at the home with several unidentified men to remove a half-dozen boxes of what Divins called Rodriguez' personal items.
"He is not answering any questions at this time," said Divins, who added that Rodriguez remains on Long Island and has been forced to hire personal security after receiving death threats.
"Why isn't he in jail? Why?" questioned an angry Lancia, who expressed his belief that the toddler was killed elsewhere.
Heather Kowalczik's whereabouts are unknown but she is said to be cooperating with state police investigators.
Kowalczik and Rodriguez had moved to Farmingdale from upstate Orange County in 2010 with two children. According to neighbors, no one had seen the third boy, Justin Kowalczik, who state police say was born in 2009.
His remains were discovered after a routine check of the home by officials from Suffolk County's Office of Child Protective Services. According to State Police, Heather Kowalczik had directed investigators to dig in the yard.
"Looking at the hole and looking at the ground, I couldn't imagine," said neighbor Clarissa Thompson, who left flowers outside the home, next to a teddy bear and messages of love from others in the community.
Suffolk County's medical examiner is working to determine the boy's cause of death, but officials say that probe could take weeks.
In a custody hearing late Tuesday afternoon, a Suffolk County family court judge decided to keep Rodriguez and Kowalczik's two sons, ages 6 and 9, in the custody of Child Protective Services. There will be another hearing on the matter in November.