A woman pleaded not guilty Monday to a felony count of willful child cruelty as authorities in Riverside County continue their search for the body of her 8-year-old son.
Jillian Godfrey, 36, was scheduled to return to court on May 17 after entering the plea in the death of her child, Noah McIntosh.
The boy’s father, 32-year-old Bryce McIntosh, was charged with first-degree murder and pleaded not guilty on April 3. A special circumstance of torture makes him potentially eligible for the death penalty, the Riverside Count District Attorney’s Office said. He’s set to appear in court Tuesday.
Investigators have not found Noah’s remains, but Corona police Chief George Johnston said they’ve gathered enough evidence that leaves “no doubt that Noah is the victim of a homicide.”
McIntosh is accused of buying four gallons of muriatic acid, a bottle of drain opener, bolt cutters and long-cuffed gloves from a Home Depot on March 4, a declaration in support of an arrest warrant said.
Detectives believe the child died on March 3 or 4, according to a criminal complaint.
Noah’s grandfather, Douglas Godfrey, said he raised him for most of his life until about 1 1/2 years ago, when his daughter Jillian let the boy and his sister stay at their father’s Corona apartment.
Douglas Godfrey said he had reported McIntosh to Child Protective Services when Noah told him about being abused by his father. The agency said it could not find any evidence of abuse, the grandfather said.
Jillian Godfrey last saw the boy when she dropped him off at McIntosh’s home on March 2, she told authorities. She witnessed the father take Noah to the bathroom, from where she overheard the boy asking why he was being hurt, Godfrey said.
The boy was still in the bathroom when she left, Godfrey told police.
She could face a maximum of six years in prison if convicted as charged, District Attorney’s Office spokesman John Hall said.