PULASKI, Va. (WDBJ7) Ashley White will get out of jail later this year. A Pulaski County judge sentenced the mother of Noah Thomas to 23 months after he was found dead in a septic tank last year.
She'll get credit for time already served at the New River Valley Regional Jail.
"I don't agree with the sentencing at all," said Tammy Nixon.
It's a feeling repeated throughout Pulaski.
"Both of them should have gotten more time," Nixon said, talking about White and her boyfriend, Paul Thomas.
"Today we got a sad day because there was no justice for that little boy," Bratton said.
Ashley White's sentencing lasted three hours Tuesday morning. Outside the courtroom we talked to nearly 2-dozen people about the judge's decision, and not one of them agreed with it.
"Our justice system just doesn't work apparently," Nixon said.
"That little boy is laying over there in the graveyard and they get out and get to live the rest of their life and he don't. It's not fair," Bratton said.
White's lawyers have said there is no evidence she killed Noah Thomas but that she was only guilty of leaving him alone then falling asleep while she was taking care of him and her infant daughter.
Thomas went missing in March 2015. Hundreds of people helped search including Melissa Bratton.
"I was out searching. We were making fliers to distribute," Bratton said.
Noah was found in a septic tank behind the family home a few days later. Friends and counselors said in court Tuesday that White was devastated and will never recover from his death.
They're also fearful for her life after jail. People in Pulaski have a suggestion.
"If it was me, I'd get out of Pulaski County because they're not going to have a peaceful life," Bratton said.
White will likely be released in November.
The boy's father, Paul Thomas, was also in the courtroom. He's served his sentence and is now out of jail.