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Police Recover Child's Body in Long Island Backyard

A grisly discovery in Farmingdale, NY, has garnered international attention; a resident is identified as a "person of interest" in the ongoing investigation.

FARMINGDALE, N.Y.—The grim discovery of an infant's body in a Farmingdale backyard has sent shock waves across the Farmingdale community and made headlines near and far.

State Police unearthed the body of a child from a Farmingdale man's back yard Friday. The resident of that home has been identified as a "person of interest" in the ongoing investigation.

At a press conference Saturday at Troop L Headquarters, State Police said an investigation that began in upstate Orange County revealed the death of a Justin Kowalczik, who was born in 2009 and would be about 3 years old now. The child was unaccounted for and his death had gone unreported for about a year and a half.

The interview with the child's mother, Heather Kowalczik, also revealed a possible location for the remains of her son, said State Police Major Patrick Regan, commander of Troop L in Farmingdale.

Police obtained a search warrant Friday for the home occupied by Kowalczik and Robert Rodriguez at 1 Hallock Road in Farmingdale.

Regan said the search and extensive dig of a portion of the yard produced the remains of a child in a shallow grave.

Regan identified Robert Rodriguez as a "person of interest" in the case. There was no additional developments in the case since the state police announcement Saturday. Several news outlets, including the New York Daily News, reported that Rodriguez was not cooperating with the investigation.

Rodriguez and Kowalczik have not been charged with any crime.

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The Medical Examiners Office is conducting their investigation and the State Police are waiting for confirmation of the identity and cause of death of the remains found.

Events began to unfold quickly Friday as Suffolk County Child Protective Services began an investigation in the health and welfare of the couple’s 6-year-old child.

State police in Orange County were also involved in the investigation. The couple had lived in Middletown, about 65 miles northwest of Manhattan.

Then, as the Suffolk probe continued, an Amber Alert was issued for the couple’s 9-year-old child, who was missing from school, Regan said. A short time later, police found Rodriguez and the 9-year-old unharmed on Long Island and the Amber Alert was cancelled.

Police said the investigation is ongoing.

Editor's note: This article originally was published by Farmingdale Patch on Long Island.

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