In a tragic turn of events, North Carolina investigators believe that they have found the remains of missing 3-year-old Mariah Woods. The toddler, who suffered from an orthopedic condition which made it difficult for her to walk, was reported missing by her mother, Kristy, at approximately 6:45 a.m. on November 27. According to Kristy Woods, she put her daughter to bed at about 11:30 p.m. Sunday night, and the toddler had seemingly disappeared without a trace in the middle of the night. Investigators immediately issued an Amber Alert in the case and began a lengthy search of the heavily-wooded area around the home.
The last person to see Mariah Woods alive was allegedly her mother’s live-in boyfriend, 32-year-old Earl Kimrey. He initially told investigators that Mariah had gotten up sometime around midnight and that he’d sent her back to bed. On Friday, it was reported that Kimrey had been arrested in connection with Mariah’s disappearance and that the toddler was presumed dead. Earl Kimrey was charged with concealing of death, obstruction of justice, second-degree burglary, felony larceny, and possession of stolen property.
Despite the arrest and charges, investigators with the Onslow County Sheriff’s Department and FBI Charlotte branch had yet to find little Mariah Woods’ body. As People reports, that all changed on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. when a gruesome discovery was made in Shelter Creek in Pender County, North Carolina; a tiny body found by dive teams. While investigators are still waiting on a positive identification from the medical examiner’s office, it is believed that the remains belong to 3-year-old Mariah.
Earlier this week, it was reported that the FBI was testing several “items of interest” in connection to Mariah Woods’ disappearance, although the nature of those items has not been made public. According to Earl Kimrey’s arrest warrant, investigators believe that the 32-year-old live-in boyfriend of Mariah Woods’ mother moved her body from the scene of her death, then concealed both her death and her remains. Investigators claim that Mariah died of “unnatural causes,” but have yet to release a suspected cause of the 3-year-old’s death.
According to Kristy Woods, she last saw her daughter when putting her to bed Sunday night. In a recent interview, she stated that her last memory of her then-missing toddler was telling the little girl that she “loved” her.
“My last memory of her was feeding her and putting her to bed. I told her I loved her and she loved me.”
Mariah’s biological father, Alex Woods, reportedly only learned of his daughter’s disappearance via the Amber Alert issued in her case. He further claims that he and Mariah’s mother have been battling over custody of their children (the couple also has two sons who also live with their mother), that Kristy Woods has been keeping the children from him, and that he hadn’t seen Mariah in over a year prior to her disappearance. Alex Woods also immediately cast doubt on the details of his daughter’s disappearance, stating that her mother’s claims simply didn’t add up.
“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? Nobody heard anything? Four people in the house, two adults and two kids someone just comes up and snatches the baby and walks out?”
Earl Kimrey remains held in the Onslow County Detention Center on a $1,010,000 bond. It is unknown if he has yet entered a plea. It is also unknown whether additional charges or further arrests may be forthcoming in the case of Mariah Woods.