Disappearance of NC 3-year-old shifted to homicide case, officials say

Earl Kimrey

Earl Kimrey, 32, was being held Saturday on more than $1 million bond at the Onslow County Detention Center following his arrest for concealing a death, obstruction of justice and other charges, according to the Onslow County Sheriff's Office. Authorities are searching for her body.

Authorities have arrested a man in connection with the disappearance of a 3-year-old North Carolina girl. Earlier Wednesday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation released surveillance photos of a woman and a little girl who matched Mariah's description, in hopes of identifying the pair.

The FBI said in a statement on Friday that the search for Mariah Woods took deputies from the New Hanover County Sheriff's Office to a local creek, where they used sonar.

Investigators believe that Mariah is deceased due to evidence gathered throughout the investigation. Jetta Long revealed that her daughter was born with a shortened leg, so she said she understood how her little girl could have been mistaken for the missing toddler.

Mariah was last seen Sunday night when her mother, Kristy Woods, put the girl to bed, according to the sheriff's officeh.

Onslow County Sheriff Hans Miller talked during a news conference about Mariah Woods, who vanished November 27 from her home on High Hill Road.

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At a Thursday press conference, Federal Bureau of Investigation officials said that "items of interest" were taken to Quantico for testing that could "lead us to Mariah", but did not elaborate on what the items were, or where they were located.

Onslow County Sheriff Hans Miller said that volunteers came from as far away as Raleigh, which is 120 miles southeast of Jacksonville. The warrant also says that Kimrey "secretly disposed of the dead child's body".

"We all hoped and prayed to find her alive".

The FBI said it has been sending "items of interest" to its lab in Quantico, Virginia, for priority testing in the case. Once they realized she was missing, the couple said they called authorities.

At some point in the five hours between then, she said someone abducted the child - who has a walking impediment - from her bedroom. They said no information is too small or insignificant when looking for the missing child.

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