Julia Tomlin is in custody, but has not been charged, Terry Sult, Hampton Police Chief, said at a Friday press conference. He added that Noah was probably dead, and they would continue to search for him.
"We will never give up hope," he said.
Tomlin had originally said that her son had been last seen when, according to Sult, he was put to bed at her home in Hampton at one o'clock in the morning on Monday. She reported that he was missing at 11:36 that day.
Noah went to bed in the early morning of Monday wearing a white and green striped pajama shirt and a diaper. It was the last time he was seen.
About 10 hours later, his mother reported him missing.
First, the police stated that no explanation for his disappearance was ruled out, including the possibility that he would go away.
But now the police claim that the child's mother was involved.
"There are so many people affected by it," Sult said Friday. "There are so many people in the church who would be willing to take care of a child to make sure that does not happen."
A Desperate Search
The Hampton Police has conducted several searches and has brought in the Virginia Department of Emergency Management Search Team, the State Police and the FBI to help with the investigation.
The search took place on land, water and in the air and was carried out on foot and with drones and sonar, Sult said.
"We looked at land and water, we checked dumpsters, we checked neighborhoods, houses, under buildings, in sheds, we actually covered the area several times with different teams, so we kept getting the same places with different ones Eyes. "
To bring the little boy home, he said.
"Ultimately, the police and the first responders are affected," Sult told reporters Friday. "It's the emotion in her face, all the filth, the filth, the fatigue of searching landfills and all the other things, the examinations that last 24 hours a day, the tiredness that it can trigger."
"But nobody wants to drop it," Sult added. "They want to find Noah."
CNN's Konstantin Toropin contributed to this report.