HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — A Hampton mother facing felony charges in connection to the disappearance of her 2-year-old son appeared in court Monday morning.
Hampton Police Chief Terry Sult announced the arrest of Julia Tomlin during a news press conference late Friday night. Tomlin charged with three counts of felony child neglect.
Tomlin appeared a Hampton courtroom Monday morning walking with a limp. She told a judge she is disabled and earns $771 a month.
The 34-year-old claimed she lives in her home in the Buckroe Beach area with three other people — but did not specify whether those people are children or adults. Tomlin was assigned a court-appointed lawyer.
The judge set a bond hearing for July 3.
Tomlin told police she put her son, 2-year-old Noah Tomlin, to bed around 1 a.m. on Monday, June 24. She reported him missing a little over 10 hours later.
Julia described Noah as very affectionate in a text message to our sister station in Virginia Beach last week.
First responders searched near his home at Buckroe Beach and the Bethel Landfill. Sult said in Friday’s update that investigators believe Noah is dead, based on a “highly coordinated investigation.”
Sult said authorities are still searching for the 2-year-old.
“They want to find Noah. We all pray that we still find him safe but that’s just not the way it’s pointing at this point,” Sult said. “This leaves us a little bit speechless, but the search for Noah continues. We’ll never give up hope.”
Following Julia’s arrest, police intensified the search for Noah as more focused crews worked through the weekend.
Hundreds of people came out to show support for Noah at a prayer vigil. “When I was 20 years old, I gave birth to my daughter and I asked God why can I never have anymore babies. I had another one and his name is Noah,” said Barbey, who was the child’s foster mom. “This isn’t the time to hate, this isn’t a time to do anything but praise God that little Noah was loved.”
Their search for Noah continues in the Hampton landfill, as well as the Hampton steam plant.
“As police officers, we’re prepared. I think a lot of times, we don’t outwardly show our emotion. In many cases, we keep it internalized,” Williams said. “We’re putting so much effort into this, not because we want to see a close to the investigation but it’s what Noah deserves.”
But the search has been taxing physically and emotionally. “The environment has to be constantly monitored or dangerous gases and other environmental hazards,” Williams said.”The temperatures are also extremely punishing and really presents an unfavorable search environment,” he added.
But despite the conditions, they remain hopeful and will continue to search at least through the July 4th holiday.
“The fact that these officers are so willing to come out and put themselves in a terrible environment and extremely unfavorable place to work, digging through the entire city’s trash, speaks volumes to what it means to them to get this child recovered,” Williams said.
“There’s a lot of discussion and speculation on Facebook. Of course as a police division, our investigation has to be based on facts,” Williams said. “I would ask the community to remain patient and trust that the investigative process will come forward with the correct information.”
Police said the search will continue at the landfill later this week.
Julia Tomlin has a bond hearing set for July 3.