The father of missing 8-year-old Noah McIntosh of Corona was charged Thursday, March 28, with his murder after, police say, they learned he purchased acid and a 32-gallon trash can and researched what type of plastic could withstand acid.
During a news conference, Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin said the first-degree murder charge against Bryce Daniel McIntosh, 32, carries a special circumstance of torture, making him eligible for the death penalty.
“I’m still hopeful that investigators are going to locate (Noah’s remains),” Hestrin said. “We are very confident that it’s a homicide case. We are very confident that the individual that we’ve charged is responsible for Noah’s death.
“This office has experience trying no-body homicides, and if we have to, we will try this as a no-body homicide,” he said.
The district attorney declined to detail the evidence brought to his office but did say the FBI forensics team has helped in the investigation.
However, a court document provides at least some of the evidence police say they have, and also gives a disturbing narrative of what investigators say were Noah’s last days– including accounts of the boy being tortured and a changing timeline from Noah’s mother, Jillian Godfrey, 36, about when the boy was last seen by her.
Searches were spurred by data taken after warrant searches of Bryce McIntosh’s cell phone and computer, laptop and other electronic devices taken from his Corona apartment.
Detectives have seen three store’s surveillance video, taken on March 4, of the father purchasing acid at one home-improvement store and a 32-gallon plastic trash can at another, according to a Declaration in Support of An Arrest Warrant. The document was filed Thursday by Corona police Detective Mario Hernandez in Riverside Superior Court.
At a department store, he bought two bottles of drain opener, the detective said.
Other items purchased that day, include two pairs of long-cuffed gloves, 24″ bolt cutters, four gallons of muriatic acid, one 128-ounce bottle of drain cleaner and a 32-ounce bottle of sulfuric acid drain opener, the declaration says.
Further, according to the declaration, Bryce McIntosh searched the web for “what kind of plastic can stand ‘uriatic (sic) acid?” and “Normal heart rate for an 8 year old when they are running.” Also, “What exactly is sulfuric acid,” and questions about sodium hydroxide, also known as lye.
Data from Bryce McIntosh’s cellphone led investigators to the unincorporated area of Aguanga in Riverside County on March 16, the declaration says. There, officers found a similar trash can, a paper with “Noah M.” on it, several purple latex gloves and parts of a blender.
Both the inside of a trash can and residue in a plastic bag found in the area tested positive for human blood, the declaration says, but the document does not link the blood to Noah.
Also recovered at the Aguanga site along Wilson Valley Road, north of Highway 371, were “numerous” purple latex gloves, empty bottles of drain cleaner, empty cans of oven cleaner, blankets, yellow towels and one blue long-cuffed glove, the declaration said.
Also on March 16, investigators, again using location evidence from Bryce McIntosh’s cell phone, went to the area of Squaw Mountain Road and Temescal Valley Road, where they recovered a purple latex glove, a soiled yellow towel, and part of a wooden spoon.
The declaration said the glove matched ones found in a warrant search of Bryce McIntosh’s black BMW 330i sedan, and used cleaning wipes were found at both locations searched March 16.
Police were asked to make a welfare check on Noah by his mother Jillian Marie Godfrey, on March 12, according to the declaration.
She originally told officers she last saw Noah when she dropped him off March 4 at Bryce McIntosh’s apartment in the 4600 block of Temescal Valley Road in Corona. But she told detectives March 13 she actually last saw the boy on March 2, during her March 1-3 stay over at the apartment.
She last saw Noah, she told detectives, when Bryce took the boy into the bathroom.
While Noah was in the bathroom she said she heard Noah ask Bryce why he was hurting him. Jillian said when she left Sunday, Noah had still not come out of the bathroom, according to the declaration.
A warrant search of Jillian Godfrey’s phone “showed notes where Jillian was documenting Bryce abusing Noah,” the declaration said.
The evidence leaves no doubt that Noah was a victim of a homicide, Corona Police Chief George Johnstone said at the Thursday morning news conference to announce that the murder charge had been filed.
The mother has been charged with child endangerment, authorities said. She has not been charged in the slaying.
Chief Johnstone said Bryce McIntosh’s lack of cooperation with detectives is “a point of frustration with the investigation, that the father has not been cooperative and the mother has very limited information. It does not make sense that the parents of an 8-year-old child do not know his whereabouts or be able to give us specific details as to where he was last seen, or where he last was.”
The young boy had been living with his father and his 11-year-old sister. There was no immediate word Thursday on where the sister was, and Johnstone declined to comment about her during the news conference.
“This tears up the heart of everyone who has touched this case,” Johnstone said Thursday. “In our hearts we know the best we can do to bring justice for Noah is presenting an unbiased case to the District Attorney’s Office.”
Godfrey and McIntosh initially were charged with one count each of willful child cruelty and were due to be arraigned April 8, when they can enter pleas.
Bail had been set at $500,000 for Godfrey.
Bryce McIntosh is being held in lieu of $1 million bail, he is set to be arraigned Monday.
On Thursday, police asked that anyone, from mid-February until March 12, who may have seen Noah, either of his
Original Post: Press Enterprise