Police have confirmed that the human remains discovered inside a steam plant facility's trash incinerator belonged to that of a missing Virginia child.
Hampton police announced on Thursday that the Virginia Department of Forensic Science and the Medical Examiner’s Office had concluded that the remains found at the the Hampton NASA steam plant were those of Noah Tomlin.
Evidence from the search for the 2-year-old led officers to sift through millions of pounds of trash in order to find his body, which was ultimately discovered on July 3 — only nine days after the boy was reported missing by his mother, Julia Tomlin. Hampton Police Chief Terry Sult would not specify what, exactly, led them to the NASA plant.
"Information gained through the investigation helped focus the search efforts," said Sult, according to WTVR of Richmond, Virginia.
Sult went on to describe the atrocious conditions investigators faced while searching for the child.
"You're dealing with conditions that are high humidity, high temperature. In this case, at the steam plant, they're in a confined space. ... When you get into that and you smell the odors and you're in the midst of everything, then you realize what you're there for, and you're going through literally millions of pounds of garbage. It takes tolls."
Julia Tomlin had been arrested on June 29 for suspicion of felony child neglect in connection with the toddler's disappearance. She claimed that her son had last been seen after being put to bed at 1 a.m. on June 24. She reported him missing around 10 hours later.
Before finding the remains, Sult had emphasized the lengths various search teams had gone to locate baby Noah.
"We have looked on land, water; we have checked trash dumpsters; we have checked neighborhoods, houses, underneath buildings, in sheds," Sult told CNN. "We actually covered the area multiple times with different teams so we would have different eyes checking the same locations repeatedly."
Tomlin previously spent five months in prison after pleading guilty to felony child neglect in 2010. She had been charged after her 1-year-old daughter suffered severe burns from a hot kitchen stove.
The local prosecutor has declined to comment on the case, according to The Associated Press.
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