Late Edition: Crime Beat Chronicles podcast – ‘Septic’ series finale

“It might seem like Noah’s death is unique and unprecedented. It isn’t. Children die in septic tanks each year, but unlike Paul and Ashley, few of their parents see the inside of a courtroom.”

For this most recent season of Late Edition: Crime Beat Chronicles, we wanted to highlight a series from The Roanoke Times that was first reported and produced in 2018 by journalists Jacob Demmitt and Robby Korth.

A five year old child, Noah Thomas, went missing in Dublin Virginia the spring of 2015. When his body was discovered days later in the family’s septic tank, the mother was put on trial both by the court system, as well as social media, where misinformation, accusations, and vengeance-fueled comments spread unchecked.

Roanoke Times reporters Jacob Demmitt and Robby Korth went to great lengths to present an honest and well-rounded narrative that explores the ways a community failed one of their own while also touching on broader implications like the effects of Facebook, the stigma of drug addiction in rural America and the distortion of facts.

The first episode is embedded above, but we just posted the seventh (and final) episode of the series if you’re already caught up:

The first section is an interview with Noah’s preschool teacher, who gave a eulogy at Noah’s funeral, and wanted to make sure he was remembered as a joyful little boy instead of just a life cut short by tragedy.

The second part of the episode will be an update from 2018 covering the legal case which was resolved six months after Septic was first released, and more than three years after Noah Thomas’ death followed by an additional update to the story that brings it current.


Noah Thomas case: 5 years trimmed from mother’s probation time

Roanoke Times reporters make podcast to revisit Noah Thomas case

The Search

Noah’s Family


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Past episodes and seasons can be found here: