The father of a missing 8-year-old boy in California has been charged with murdering his son after trace evidence was found, leaving no doubt he was killed, police said.
Corona Police Chief George Johnstone told reporters during a Thursday press conference that Bryce McIntosh, 32, who was previously charged with child abuse, is now facing first-degree murder charges in the death of his son, Noah, whose body has not been recovered.
“It is unfortunate and with a heavy heart that I must let the community know that the missing child investigation regarding Noah McIntosh has now been escalated to a homicide case,” Johnstone said, adding that countless hours had been spent on the investigation, which included local, state and federal agencies. “Our search for Noah continues.”
Johnstone said investigators responded on March 12 to a report of an at-risk missing child after Noah’s mother, Jillian Godfrey, told police that she had concerns about the boy’s whereabouts, saying she was unable to contact him for the past two weeks.
Police then tried to reach Bryce McIntosh at another apartment nearby, but he did not respond to numerous attempts by investigators to reach him. The following day, a search warrant was served at McIntosh’s residence, where he was found with his 11-year-old daughter. But Noah was not there, police said.
Relatives later told police that the boy was last seen in early March in the 4600 block of Temescal Canyon Road.
New “trace evidence” in the case after searches of locations in Temescal Valley, Aguanga and Murrieta led to the upgraded charges, according to Johnstone, who declined to provide further details, citing an ongoing investigation. He reiterated that Noah’s body had still not been found.
“The Corona Police Department will continue to investigate the disappearance of Noah and will remain steadfast until Noah is located,” Johnstone said.
It’s unclear exactly when the boy was killed. His father has not been cooperative with police and Godfrey has had limited information about his whereabouts, including where he was last seen, Johnstone said.
“This tears at the heart of every person that has touched this case,” the chief told reporters. “There is no more trust a child should have than in their parents.”
Investigators have determined a motive in the boy’s killing, Johnstone said, but he declined to elaborate.
Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin said the first-degree murder charge carries a special circumstance of torture, making Bryce McIntosh eligible for the death penalty if convicted.
“Rest assured, everybody up here is committed to getting justice for Noah,” Hestrin said.
Godfrey, 36, has been charged with child endangerment. She remains held on $500,000 bail.
McIntosh, meanwhile, is expected to be arraigned Monday on the new murder charge. His bail has been set at $1 million, Johnstone said.
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