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Gregory seeks update on inquiry into 17-month-old's death

Suffolk Legis. DuWayne Gregory (D-Amityville) has requested an update from State Police on the investigation of the body of a little boy found buried in his family’s Farmingdale backyard last October.

In a letter sent to State Police on Monday, Gregory, chairman of the county Legislature’s Human Services Committee, asked for more information on the progress of the case to “allay any concerns the community has regarding this horrific incident.”

No arrests have been made since the body of 17-month old Justin Kowalczik was discovered after a routine visit from a Suffolk Child Protective Services case worker to the boy’s home. Justin’s mother Heather Kowalczik led investigators to the body, which was believed to have been there since July 2010.

Robert Rodriguez, father of Kowalczik’s two other children, but not of Justin, has been named a “person of interest in the case,” but has refused to talk to police since the incident.

“There has been very little, by way of an update since the murder some eight months ago,” Gregory wrote.  “I understand that your staff has an investigation to conduct and I do not want to interfere with that any way. Any information that your staff can provide as to the progress of the investigation I believe would be helpful in relieving the concerns of the community.”

Gregory’s letter came after John Bogack, a retired county Child Protective Services investigator, spoke before the legislature’s Public Safety Committee last week asking them to keep attention focused on the case.

Bogack has spoken at other Human Services committee meetings, hoping to keep the spotlight on the county’s handling of child abuse related deaths, including that of 4-year-old Adonis Reed, who police say was punched to death by a surrogate caretaker in January.

At the June 13 Public Safety Committee meeting, Legis. Kate Browning (WF-Shirley) and Legis. Rob Calarco (D-East Patchogue) said they would reach out to authorities for updates on the Kowalczik case.

Asked about Gregory’s letter, Thomas Hughes, senior investigator for State Police major crimes unit, told Newsday the unit was “constantly working on this case ... It’s like any other case we handle,” Hughes said. “We’re going to work diligently on it until the end.”

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