Details of Disappearance
Noah was last seen at his family's apartment complex in the 4600 block of Temescal Canyon in Corona, California. His parents lived separately at the complex, and Noah lived with his father and eleven-year-old sister. He disappeared sometime in early March; the usual date of disappearance is given as March 6. He has never been heard from again.
On the evening of March 12, Noah's mother, Jillian Marie Godfrey, called the Riverside County Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) and requested they do a welfare check on Noah. She said she hadn't seen him since she dropped him off with his father, Bryce Daniel McIntosh, on March 4, and that on March 8, Bryce had told Jillian that Noah had been missing for two days but he would "handle it."
On March 13, the police went to Bryce's home to execute a search warrant; they sent a SWAT team because he was "possibly in possession of weapons" and it was "unknown what his current mindset is." They found Bryce, and Noah's older sister, but no sign of Noah himself, and his sister said she was aware he was missing.
Authorities seized Bryce's computers and cellular phone, and they found handcuffs, zip ties, purple latex gloves and stained yellow towels in the apartment. That same day, result of the initial investigation into Noah's disappearance, both Bryce and Jillian were charged with felony child cruelty. Photos of them are posted with this case summary.
When she spoke to police on March 13, Jillian admitted she had lied about the date she last saw Noah; she said it was not March 4 but March 2.
Jillian stated she stayed at Bryce's apartment from March 1 to March 3. That last time she saw her son, on March 2, Bryce took him into the bathroom, and she heard Noah ask why Bryce why he was hurting him. By the time she left the next day, she had not yet seen Noah come out of the bathroom. Jillian also showed police notes she'd taken, documenting Bryce's mistreatment of Noah.
Analyses of Bryce's phone and computers showed he had searched on the internet for "normal heart rate for 8 year old when they are running", "how exactly sodium hydroxide works", "sodium hydroxide to water", "what exactly is sulfuric acid", "what does sulfuric acid do to aluminum", and "what kind of plastic can stand muriatic acid".
Police were able to confirm that on March 4, Bryce bought gloves, bolt cutters, four gallons of muriatic acid, two bottles of drain opener, and a 32-gallon plastic trash can. That same day he made a trip to Wilson Valley Road in Aguanga, a remote area more than fifty miles east of his home, and the next day he went to Squaw Mountain Road in Temescal Valley.
Investigators went to both locations, and at the Aguanga one, they found a trash can with human blood inside, a paper that said "Noah M", numerous purple latex gloves, a single blue long-cuffed glove, blankets, yellow towels, a plastic bag with human blood residue, empty drain cleaner bottles, empty oven cleaner bottles, and parts of a kitchen blender. At the Temescal Valley location they found part of a wooden spoon, one purple latex glove, a soiled yellow towel and used cleaning wipes.
On March 28, Bryce was charged with first-degree murder in his son's disappearance; authorities stated they had found evidence that left "no doubt" Noah was the victim of a homicide. They believe Bryce's vehicle, a black BMW 330i with the California license plate number 5MKE807, was a key element in Noah's murder, and asked that anyone who had seen the BMW on March 4 or March 5 contact them.
When police searched the vehicle, they found purple latex gloves matching the ones found at the Aguanga and Temescal Valley sites. A photo of the car is posted with this case summary.
As early as 2013, the DPSS started getting reports that Noah was being struck hard enough to cause bruises. Beginning in August 2017, a year and a half prior to Noah's disappearance, social workers for the Riverside County DPSS had gotten at least ten reports that Bryce was abusing and neglecting Noah and his sister and that Jillian was failing to protect the children.
All but two of the reports were closed as "unfounded" or "inconclusive". Two allegations of general neglect were "substantiated", but because social workers couldn't substantiate any allegations of severe neglect or abuse, Noah was not removed from his parents' custody.
Because of his bladder defect, Noah had toileting issues, and his father punished him severely for them. In August 2017, he told a police officer that Bryce had zip-tied his wrists and ankles, blindfolded him and dunked him in freezing water because he had soiled his pants. He said he'd been handcuffed to the bathtub and forced to sit in cold water for hours at a time, and that Bryce had force-fed him chocolate laxatives and, when he defecated, forced him to sit in his feces all day and then clean up the excrement himself.
A social worker completed a safety assessment and noted the "caregiver caused serious physical harm to the child", but for unclear reasons, the child abuse investigation was closed without further action.
On another occasion, in November 2017, Bryce forced Noah to go to school wearing a diaper, shirt and shoes but no pants, in order to humiliate him. After the school told Bryce he couldn't send his son to school without pants, Bryce sent him wearing his sister's clothes, and Noah was teased all day by the other children because of this. The school principal had to buy a change of boy's clothes for him.
Social workers who investigated the resulting complaint noted Jillian didn't protect her son and the family needed counseling, parenting classes or some other form of support.
Bryce and Jillian said they would allow Noah to get counseling if they could be in the room, but it's not clear whether he had any counseling sessions. Bryce said he thought Noah no longer had actual problems with his bladder and his toileting issues were caused by him "being lazy."
In October 2019, an attorney filed a claim against Riverside County on the behalf of Noah's sister and his estate, alleging the county DPSS "dropped the ball" when they failed to take appropriate action in response to the complaints that Bryce was neglecting and abusing the child. Noah's case is only one of several high-profile cases where the DPSS mishandled child abuse and neglect cases.
Jillian was not been charged with murder in Noah's case, only with child abuse. In December 2019, she pleaded guilty to two counts of child endangerment in her son's disappearance and Bryce is awaiting trial. Because Noah's murder is believed to have involved torture, he could face life in prison without parole or the death penalty if convicted.
Noah's body has never been located, but foul play is suspected in his case due to the circumstances involved.