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Julia Tomlin: Virginia mom tortured, killed autistic son, 2, before disposing body in diaper box

'Death was a welcome friend to Noah because his body could not take anymore. The abuse was just so profound,' commonwealth's attorney said
Julia Leanna Tomlin killed her autistic 2-year-old son Noah after torturing him (Hampton Police Department)
Julia Leanna Tomlin killed her autistic 2-year-old son Noah after torturing him (Hampton Police Department)

Julia Leanna Tomlin, a Virginia woman, was given a 55-year prison term on Monday July 25, for the murder of her 2-year-old son Noah Tomlin. Julia, 37, pled guilty in December to second-degree murder, disguising a dead body, and felony child abuse.

Noah died from blunt-force head trauma and battered child syndrome, according to a medical examiner's findings. Commonwealth's attorney Anton A Bell informed People that Noah's remains were found at a steam plant in Hampton. Bell claimed, "This child was beaten profusely. This child's body couldn't take it anymore. Death was a welcome friend to Noah because his body could not take anymore. The abuse was just so profound." The maximum punishment was requested by Julia's 19-year-old daughter at her sentencing.


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"My mother, Julia Tomlin, has never been fit to be a parent," the 19-year-old told the Virginian-Pilot. "She has only cared for herself and has never prioritized the needs for any of her children, even when she had claimed to be doing so. All of her children have been removed from her care and should have never been returned to her care."

"Noah received the worst from her. In the two short years he lived, he had witnessed pure hate and cruelty from the woman who was supposed to love and protect him," she testified in court for her late brother. Tyrone Johnson, Julia's attorney, told the judge at the sentencing that Julia had endured years of mental and physical abuse at the hands of her parents and a boy she had dated when she was a teenager.


On June 24, 2019, Julia's trailer in Bayside Village Mobile Home Park received a complaint that her little boy was missing. Julia allegedly told police that she had put her three young children to bed the previous evening, and Noah was gone when she woke up the next morning.

Julia first claimed that Noah, who was diagnosed with autism, had been kidnapped, but later claimed that she had left the boy alone in the bathtub when he hit his head and drowned. Julia had also admitted to using heroin. Bell claimed Julia had requested a friend to deliver cleaning materials and to dispose of Noah's body after he had called to ask for help.

"Tomlin would later confess that later that night, which was the early morning of June the 23rd, she wrapped Noah's deceased body, put the body in a diaper box, triple-bagged the box with three trash bags, and gave it to [her friend] to dispose," Bell said. "Tomlin was adamant that [her friend] was unaware of the contents of the package."


After spending several days searching for Noah, authorities discovered the boy's remains that had been discarded at a dump outside of town by Julia's friend. Bell claims that following further investigation, authorities found the boy's blood on a bedroom wall and a bed sheet in the trash. Noah's wounds, according to Bell, were compatible to child abuse. 

"Noah's skull had a hole in it that was found to be consistent with an instrument striking it. The medical examiner stated the injuries were consistent with the force of someone being dropped from a multiple story building," Bell said. In addition, Bell claimed that Noah had sustained a number of earlier wounds that were "significant and severe," such as a shattered jawbone, ribcage fractures, and shaken infant syndrome symptoms.

Bell cited the medical examiner as saying Noah's growth had been retarded. "It was evident from the autopsy that he had stopped eating at some point, and that would've been consistent when a child who was in severe pain and as a result of the severe pain, it would've been too painful for him to eat," he said.