Remains of missing 3-year-old North Carolina girl found, authorities say

Investigators have recovered a body in a creek believed to be 3-year-old Mariah Woods, officials said Saturday.

District Attorney Ernie Lee told reporters that divers recovered the body in neighboring Pender County. He added that they were awaiting a medical examiner’s report to determine the official cause of death.

The body was found hours after Earl Kimrey, the live-in boyfriend of Mariah’s mother, was arrested and held on $1 million bond. He is charged with concealing of death, obstruction of justice, second-degree burglary, felony larceny and possession of stolen property. Prosecutors are reviewing whether additional charges should be filed.

This photo provided by Onslow County Sheriff’s Office shows Earl Kimrey.  Authorities have arrested Kimrey in connection with the disappearance of a 3-year-old North Carolina girl.
The Onslow County Sheriff's Office says Kimrey is being held on more than $1 million bond in the Onslow County Detention Center on charges that include concealing a death and obstruction of justice.
A statement issued by the Sheriff's Office says the child, Mariah Woods, is believed to be dead. She has been missing from her home since Monday, Nov. 27, 2017.  Authorities are searching for her body.  (Onslow County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

Earl Kimrey was arrested late Friday.

 (Onslow County Sheriff’s Office)

According to arrest warrants, Kimrey removed the girl’s body from the place where she died and knew her death was not natural.

Mariah was reported missing Monday morning by her mother, who said she last saw her when she put her to bed the night before.

Kristy Woods made tearful pleas for her daughter’s return. “This is my world, this is my angel,” she said.

Earlier Saturday, the FBI asked for any business or residents with security cameras near U.S. Highway 17 or state Highway 53 in the area where the girl disappeared to call police and let them see the footage.

“Allow us to review it to determine if it is of investigative value,” FBI agent Stanley Meador said.

Mariah’s father, who has been involved in a custody dispute with her mother, has criticized her version of events.

“Someone just walked right up in there, grabbed the 3-year-old out of the bed and she didn’t cry, she didn’t scream?” Alex Woods told WCTI-TV in New Bern earlier in the week. “Nobody heard anything? Four people in the house, two adults and two kids someone just comes up and snatches the baby and walks out?”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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