On November 27, 3-year-old Mariah Kay Woods was reported missing from her North Carolina home. The toddler vanished, seemingly without a trace, sometime after her mother, Kristy Woods, put her to bed on Sunday night. According to Kristy Woods’ boyfriend, who lives in the family home, he saw little Mariah at about midnight. As CBS News reports, 3-year-old Mariah Woods had allegedly gotten up in the “middle of the night,” and her mother’s boyfriend told her to go back to bed.
At roughly 6 a.m. Monday, the couple realized that the little girl was missing, which was when they contacted local authorities. According to investigators, who promptly issued an Amber Alert, they believe Mariah Woods was abducted from her Onslow County home, despite a lack of evidence of forced entry; the home’s back door was reportedly unlocked. Alex Woods, Mariah’s father, who says he hasn’t seen his now-missing daughter in more than a year, doesn’t believe his ex’s “story” regarding Mariah’s disappearance, adding that it’s highly unlikely that Mariah could have been taken from the home without somebody hearing an intruder.
“Someone just walked right up in there, grabbed the three-year-old out of the bed and she didn’t cry, she didn’t scream? 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 active Amber Alert and search for Mariah Woods entered its fifth day on Friday morning, and since the toddler’s troubling disappearance, an increasing number of volunteer searchers have joined police and FBI efforts to locate the missing girl. A major part of the search for little Mariah is being organized by Team Adam, which is a program with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, which provides assistance to both law enforcement departments and the families of the missing. The group is currently working with Onslow County Sheriff Hans Miller.
As ABC 11 reports, the FBI lab located in Quantico, Virginia, is also testing multiple items of interest associated with the disappearance of Mariah Woods.
Police, FBI agents, and volunteers are receiving assistance from Camp Jejeune Marines as they search the wooded area around Mariah Woods’ home for additional items of interest or anything out of ordinary. It has also been reported that the area under the trailer home occupied by Mariah and her family has been searched for clues that may lead to the little girl.
Onslow County Sheriff Hans Miller has also spoken directly to distraught locals regarding the disappearance of Mariah Woods, asking them to do their part to help bring the toddler home. Specifically, locals are being asked to search their own private property for anything odd or unusual, including sheds, barns and “outbuildings.” Anyone who locates anything concerning or suspicious is asked to contact the Onslow County Sheriff’s Department.
“Our goal is to talk to every person who lives in Mariah’s neighborhood. We have spoken to many of them, but not everyone. Some people may not have been home when we tried to talk to them, we will continue to contact everyone to determine if they have any information that can help us find Mariah.”
Family members say that 3-year-old Mariah Woods suffers from an orthopedic leg issue that causes her left leg to wobble, making walking difficult for a toddler. Because of this medical condition, they believe it’s unlikely that Mariah simply “wandered off” in the night.” What’s more, many of the toddler’s family members say that Mariah Woods would never have silently left with a stranger.
Sheriff Hans Miller has refused to comment on whether or not anyone in Mariah’s family is a suspect in the girl’s disappearance. FBI supervisory special agent Stanley Meador claimed earlier this week that Woods’ family is cooperating with the investigation into the missing child case.
According to biological father Alex Woods, two of his sons with Mariah’s biological mother were also in the house when his daughter vanished. Alex Woods added that he and his ex, Kristy Woods, have dealt with “custody issues” and that he doesn’t believe her version of what happened to his missing daughter. According to Mr. Woods, he believed there may be abuse in his children’s’ home. A spokesman for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has refused to comment on potential past abuse at Mariah Woods’ home, citing state law.