PULASKI COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — After a five-day-long search for a missing boy out of Pulaski County, along with the tragic discovery of his body Thursday, authorities say they’re now conducting a “death investigation.”
5-year-old Noah Thomas’ body was found in a septic tank near his family’s home, police said at a press conference Thursday.
Authorities held a news conference at 10 a.m. Friday regarding the investigation.
During Friday’s conference, Assistant County Administrator Anthony Akers said, on behalf of the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department, that at this time the investigation will continue to find Noah’s cause of death. Akers also thanked the law enforcement agencies who have helped in the investigation, including the FBI Violent Crimes Against Children division, Virginia Department of Emergency Management, and the Virginia State Police.
Akers said that moving forward, the investigation will be focused on facts and physical evidence. Official comments on the investigation will be solely released by the Sheriff’s Office when a significant development occurs, 8News sister station WSLS reports.
Akers urged the public to be cautious about rumors and speculation surrounding the case.
“Pulaski County is a resilient community,” he said. “We all love each other and we care. When something happens to someone it affects all of us.”
Akers said, “I can’t imagine what people are going through. It’s easy for me to say I understand but I don’t. Until I’ve walked a mile in someone’s shoes, I can’t say I understand but my emotions are everywhere.”
The discovery of the boy’s body came shortly after the sheriff announced a $5,000 reward for information leading to Noah’s whereabouts. A heavy police presence converged on the young boy’s home and crime scene tape enclosed the house on Thursday.
Authorities say that no one is currently in custody. A cause of death has not been determined as the body awaits medical examination. Pulaski County Sheriff Jim Davis added Thomas’ parents continue to cooperate “during this tragic time” as the investigation is ongoing.
The sheriff said the parents continue to cooperate and are very distraught.
“I can’t imagine what people are going through. It’s easy for me to say I understand but I don’t. Until I’ve walked a mile in someone’s shoes, I can’t say I understand but my emotions are everywhere,” Akers said in the conference Friday.
Sheriff Davis also told WSLS that they were going by family statements and Sheriff Davis said he had spent many hours with Noah’s parents and asked the public to not judge them, stating, “They’re living in a nightmare,” and “their grief is obvious.”
Noah Terry Thomas was believed to have left his home at 5461 Highland Road on foot.
8News will continue tracking this story. Stay with us for updates.