HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — Investigators have found the remains of a child believed to be 2-year-old Noah Tomlin, Hampton Police Chief Terry Sult says.
Sult announced the development in a noon news conference Wednesday, noting that the child’s body was found at a steam plant where authorities focused part of the search.
Over 10,000 man hours were put into the search, and investigators dug through more than 2 million pounds of trash before the body was discovered at 8:50 a.m. Wednesday, Sult said.
The Medical Examiner’s Office is working to formally identify the child’s remains.
The search for Tomlin was a six-phase effort that involved land, sea and air searches. Officers were assisted in the search by the Hampton Division of Fire and Rescue, and numerous local, state, and Federal partners, Sult said.
“As part of the team effort, very early on, from the recommendation from one of our corporals, we were able to isolate trash that was coming from various areas of interest,” Sult said.
The police chief said information gained through the assistance of FBI resources, agents and analysts helped police focus the search.
Wednesday’s development comes days after the arrest of the child’s mother, Julia Tomlin. Police charged her with three counts of felony child neglect.
Noah was reported missing to police more than 10 hours after he was last seen at his home in the Buckroe Beach area on Monday, June 24.
Sult said in an update on Friday that investigators believed Noah was dead based on a “highly coordinated investigation.”
Speaking at Wednesday’s news conference, Sult said, “If this tragedy has taught us anything, it’s that we are a united community…we will do everything in our power to prevent something like this from happening again.”
Through a Freedom of Information Act request, 10 On Your Side learned that multiple 911 calls were made from Julia Tomlin’s mobile home at 191 Atlantic Avenue in the last 6 months, totaling 29 pages of “communications list of events” and a 58 page “communications events report.”
However the city can’t release the records because the toddler’s death is still under investigation. Here’s Hampton’s response to the FOIA request:
People we spoke to said they’re at a loss for words.
To many, Noah Tomlin was a child they never knew, but he’s left a mark on their hearts forever.
“I wish i could’ve done something for this baby,” one woman who didn’t want to be identified said. The discovery capped off an emotional and exhausting search for the toddler who was first reported missing on June 24.
His mother Julia Tomlin was arrested on Friday on child neglect charges.
“Noah is the epitome of an innocent victim. He like all innocent victims deserve better,” said Hampton Police Chief Terry Sult. “We all have to come together and heal. Most importantly we need to address those who do harm to the innocent.”
The community came back to a vigil site to leave flowers, candles and messages for the toddler.
“I felt compelled that a child only two-years-old was taken so early from this earth and there’s no reason for it,” Michael Poteet said.
“Little Noah was just younger than my Noah,” James McConnell said. “I can’t imagine it myself.”
McConnell visited the site with his son, who is also named Noah.
“My wife and I wanted to come out and I guess just pay respects for the fact that thankfully that he’s found,” he said. “Even though he’s gone, at least he’ll have some peace and quiet now.”
A woman living in Noah’s neighborhood didn’t want to speak on camera but she said the tragedy has more people coming together and offering help.
“I’ve been telling people around that don’t even know me ‘I’m here if you need something, let me know. I’m here all the time,” she said.
Now as the community moves forward, they say Noah won’t be forgotten.
“I hope there’s justice for it,” McConnell said.
“He’s in heaven and he can feel love now,” the woman said.
The investigation into Noah’s disappearance and now his death is ongoing.
Julia Tomlin remains behind bars at the Hampton city jail.
Be sure to stay with WAVY News as we continue to bring you updates on this story.