July 4 (UPI) -- Virginia police said they have found human remains they believe belong to a 2-year-old boy who was reported missing more than a week ago.
Hampton Police said Wednesday that a search team had located the remains of a child believed to be Noah Tomlin at the Hampton NASA steam plant at 8:50 a.m. that morning.
Noah was reported missing by his mother, Julia Leanna Tomlin, 34, at 11 a.m. June 24. She told police she had last seen her son 10 hours earlier when she put him to bed wearing a green pyjama shirt and a diaper.
On Saturday, she was charged with three counts of felony child neglect related to her son's disappearance. Police said in announcing her arrest that they thought Noah was dead.
"The priority all along has been to find Noah," Hampton Police Chief Terry Sult said in a press conference Wednesday. "It is with very mixed emotions that we report today that goal has been accomplished."
Searches were conducted around his home and at the local garbage dump and steam plant where officers looked through 2 million pounds of garbage, he said.
The remains were not incinerated, he said, and investigators, forensic technicians and the medical examiner's office were processing the crime scene to formally identify the body.
The investigation was being transferred to the Commonwealth Attorney's Office, Sult said.
He said the investigation has taken a toll on the local police and first responders and time will be needed for them to recover and heal.
"If this tragedy has taught us anything, it has taught us that we are united as a community in our fight against injustice," Sult said. "Noah is the epitome of an innocent victim. He like all innocent victims deserve better. The innocent deserve to have had and have our promise that we will do everything in our power to prevent something like this from happening again."