Case against mom accused of killing son and reporting him missing goes to grand jury

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HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — A Hampton mother accused of killing her 2-year-old son returned to a courtroom Monday morning to face her new charges.

During the hearing, the judge certified five charges against her to a grand jury.

Julia Tomlin initially reported her son Noah missing in June, which sparked a massive search. Noah’s body was found more than a week later, at the Hampton steam plant.

On Halloween, Hampton Commonwealth’s Attorney Anton Bell said Noah Tomlin’s autopsy revealed he died from multiple blunt force trauma injuries. He described the injuries as incredibly severe and said “based on the evidence this child was tortured.”

A photo of Noah Tomlin taken in May of 2019.

As a result of the findings, Tomlin was charged with murder and unlawful disposal of a deceased person. Bell said investigators know someone dispose of Noah’s body, but they are still working to determine if that person knew the child’s body was in the bag.

Tomlin appeared in court Monday for her preliminary hearing, during which 14 witnesses were called to testify.

One man named Brad Bailey said he’s the father of one of Tomlin’s children. He claimed he saw Noah when he brought heroin to Tomlin — just days before Tomlin called police saying Noah disappeared.

“She had called me the night before like 10 times in that day trying to get me to get her heroin,” he testified in court.

He added he saw Noah in Tomlin’s living room with two of his siblings.

Another witness, Brian Nolle, said on the same day, June 22, there was some question whether he could be Noah’s father.

That evening, he brought his daughter to meet Noah. He said when he asked Tomlin if he could see the boy, she told them he was asleep.

Nolle asked Tomlin if there was any way he and his daughter could “peep in” Noah’s room without waking him, just to see the boy.

“… [A]nd again Julia responded ‘Well he’s asleep,'” Nolle said.

Other witnesses, such as detectives and forensic specialists, were also called in. Some brought in bags of evidence and pictures.

Special agent with the FBI Liza Ludovico testified Tomlin told her in an interview that Noah had drowned in a bath and struck his head. She said Tomlin told her she gave him CPR and then moved him to a bedroom, where she realized he was dead.

Ludovico said Tomlin told her during the interview she packaged Noah in an empty diaper box and wrapped it in trash bags. Ludovico said Tomlin called Timothy Carter to throw the “package” away.

The agent said Tomlin told her Carter didn’t know what was in the bag.

The prosecutors have said the autopsy report shows Noah didn’t die of drowning but multiple blunt force traumas.

Some officers were in court to testify about the process of trying to find Noah’s body. A handful spoke about going through trash bags, cutting them open and searching through the trash with rakes at the city-owned steam plant.

That’s where Noah’s remains were found.

After the three-hour hearing, a judge determined there was enough probable cause to support the five charges against Tomlin and certify them to a higher court.

Tomlin is charged with murder, unlawfully disposing of a deceased person and three counts of felony child neglect.

Officials say there are also pending child abuse charges against Tomlin for her other two children, who are eight months and three years old.

The next court date is Jan. 10 at 9 a.m.

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