Long Island City
Residents of a Long Island New York neighborhood never suspected the gruesome secret buried a mere three feet deep in Heather Kowalczik's backyard.
Police received a call on Wednesday requesting they check the welfare of Kowalczik's autistic 6 year-old son, Alex. When they responded, they began interviewing Kowalczik about Alex and his 9 year-old brother, Robert Jr, and soon realized that the youngest child was not accounted for. Initially, Kowalczik told police the baby was with family in Orange County. According to CBS New York after checking in Orange County, police learned the child was most likely deceased and they returned to the residence. During a second interview, Kowalczik revealed the grisly secret she had kept hidden for over 2 years; the unreported death of her 17 month old child, Justin, and subsequent burial in the family's back yard.
After obtaining the location where the child was buried, authorities began searching, and after digging approximately 3 feet, they found human remains believed to have been buried for more then 2 years.
Kowalczik told the New York Post: “I just broke down. I had to tell them what Robert did."
Robert Rodriguez, Kowalczik's boyfriend and father of Alex and Robert Jr., fled the scene after he learned what Kowalczik had told police, taking Robert Jr. with him. Police have issued an Amber alert, but both were soon found safe in Old Brookville.
New York State Police Maj. Patrick Regan said Rodriguez was not arrested, but he is a person of interest and that the death “is absolutely a suspicious death, and it is being investigated as such.”
Rodriguez has refused to cooperate with police, and Regan told the New York Daily News“He’s certainly someone we feel can provide us with more information about this case than we have. “To this point, he has not spoken to us.”
Sigmund Kowalczik, Kowalczik's uncle, told New York Daily News: “I'll tell you right now, she's not a violent girl. I've never seen her fight. I've never seen her argue. "He [Rodriguez] showed up and left when he wanted...He had other girlfriends.
"My wife, she wasn't comfortable around him. She was scared of him.”
According to the Huffington Post, neighbors said they knew about the infant's existence, but Kowalczik claimed she was in a car accident and lost him during pregnancy.
The other two children have been placed in protective custody according to police.