DUBLIN, Va. (AP) — Virginia authorities on Friday were investigating the death of a 5-year-old boy whose body was found in a septic tank near his home.
Noah Thomas was last seen by his mother Sunday morning at the family's home in Dublin. Several hundred law enforcement officers and volunteers had been searching for him since then. It remained unclear what prompted authorities to empty the septic tank where Noah's body was recovered Thursday.
Pulaski County Sheriff Jim Davis said in a statement Friday that his office is conducting an investigation "focused on facts and physical evidence," and he urged the public to disregard rumors and speculation. Davis said the medical examiner's office in Roanoke would determine the cause of death.
He said previously that the boy's parents are cooperating in the investigation. They have remained secluded, but the Roanoke Times reported (http://bit.ly/1D6MZLk ) that Noah's aunt and uncle, Katherine Ide and Jason Thomas, spoke at a news conference Thursday.
"You don't get into a septic tank by accident. Someone's going to pay," Thomas said.
Ide said that her nephew was outgoing, had a great laugh and was best buddies with his dad.
Davis repeatedly said Thursday that Noah's parents, Ashley Jennifer White, 31, and Paul Raymond Thomas, 32, were "extremely distraught."
Authorities say Noah was watching cartoons Sunday morning when his mother decided to take a nap with her baby. When she awoke a couple of hours later, Noah was missing.
Information from: The Roanoke Times, http://www.roanoke.com