"We all pray that we still find him safe but that’s just not the way it’s pointing at this point,” Hampton Police Chief Terry Sult said
A Virginia mother has been charged in connection with the disappearance of her toddler son, who vanished last Monday and who police believe is now dead.
Noah Tomlin, 2, was reported missing by his mother, Julia Tomlin, who told investigators she last saw him when she put him to bed at 1 a.m., about ten hours before.
Four days later, Tomlin was taken into custody and charged with three counts of child neglect, police announced in a news release obtained by PEOPLE.
“Unfortunately to date, Noah has not been found,” Hampton Police’s spokesperson Sgt. R. C. Williams said in the release. “However, based on the highly coordinated investigation we currently believe him to be deceased.”
Police believe Noah was last seen wearing a white and green pajama shirt and a diaper. After Hampton police searched the Bayside Mobile Home Village, where Noah’s family lives, authorities called state and federal investigators for assistance.
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It is unclear what evidence authorities have uncovered to lead them to believe the boy is dead.
“We all pray that we still find him safe but that’s just not the way it’s pointing at this point,” Hampton police chief Terry Sult said at a Friday news conference.
On Saturday, police searched a city-operated incinerator, the Hampton Daily Press reports.
“This leaves us a little bit speechless, but the search for Noah continues,” Sult said Friday. “We’ll never give up hope.”
Tomlin has a history of child abuse. In 2010, she was convicted of felony child neglect, WSLS, WTKR and the Press report. She spent five months behind bars after pleading guilty to sitting her 1-year-old daughter on a hot kitchen stove, severely burning her. Tomlin had five children at the time of the crime.
It is unclear how many children were at home the night of Noah’s disappearance. However, Sult said the children are being taken care of by family members and child protective services.
Attorney information for Tomlin was unavailable Monday and it wasn’t clear if she has yet entered a plea.
Anyone with information regarding Noah’s disappearance is encouraged to call the Hampton Police Department at 757-727-6111.