Noah Chamberlin was not murdered, police reiterated this week after the missing 2-year-old Tennessee boy was found dead in the woods near his home.
Noah had gone missing on January 7 while on a walk with his grandmother and older sister. The grandmother said she turned her attention to Noah’s sister for a moment, and when she looked back the boy had disappeared.
As the search for the boy stretched to one week, rumors had spread that Noah Chamberlin may have been murdered, possibly by a member of his own family. Many left comments on local news story casting suspicion on Noah’s parents, who took part in the search for the boy, but did not speak publicly during the long ordeal.
— Mashable (@mashable) January 22, 2016
— Inquisitr News (@theinquisitr) January 22, 2016
Even after his death, Noah’s parents remained quiet, speaking through a spokesperson.
“I’m asking right now that they have time to mourn and to love on each other and go through this time of loss,” said the spokesperson.
But none of the rumors were true, police reiterated, after Noah was found dead. They noted that Noah’s parents had been cooperative throughout the search, and had no reason to believe that anyone may have been involved in his disappearance.
Police also investigated all sex offenders living nearby, covering their bases and making sure nothing could have happened to the boy.
In the end, police said Noah Chamberlin just ran off too far to be found, and that search crews weren’t able to find the area until it was too late.
“This is an area we expanded our search into. Every day we expanded our search farther and farther,” Madison County Fire Chief Eric Turner said, via WMCA Action News. “This was an area that was on the outskirts of what we had searched, and we were back searching it for the second time. It was right on the borderline of where we had been searching and we expanded our search farther.”
Police leading the search for Noah Chamberlin also defended his grandmother’s story, saying it wasn’t uncommon for the boy to run off.
“Everybody we talked to talked about how he ran all the time, jumped over tables, ran, just nonstop,” said Madison County Sheriff John Mehr. “He loved to hide. We had people tell us that even adults would run after him, and they couldn’t catch him.”
“Just like grandma said, she turned her head for a minute and he was gone,” said Chester County Sheriff Blair Weaver. “There were trails everywhere.”
With the search for Noah Chamberlin turning tragic, many are now trying to allow the boy’s legacy to live on. The West Tennessee Healthcare Foundation announced that they had established the Noah Chamberlin Memorial Fund to support the boy’s family, the Jackson Sun reported. The foundation said the fund could help cover expenses including counseling and help in paying off the expenses they incurred during the search. It will also “provide a lasting memorial for Noah that will enable his spirit to live on through the lives of others.”
“Noah’s disappearance created an unbelievable outpouring of prayers and support during the weeklong search to find him,” the West Tennessee Healthcare Foundation said in a news release. “Noah was highly active and full of life. The search for Noah captured the hearts and minds of thousands of West Tennesseans. The outpouring of support was an amazing comfort for the family.”
While police have already determined that Noah Chamberlin was not murdered, they have ordered an autopsy so medical officials can determine exactly how the boy died.
[Image via Chamberlin family]