Early on November 27, 3-year-old Mariah Kay Woods was reported missing by her frantic mother, Kristy Woods. According to the distraught North Carolina mom, she had last seen her daughter at about 11:30 p.m. the night before when she put the toddler to bed. Kristy’s live-in-boyfriend, 32-year-old Earl Kimrey, told investigators that he’d last seen the little girl sometime after midnight when he found her wandering and told her to go back to bed.
Detectives with the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office immediately issued an Amber Alert in connection with the disappearance of little Mariah Woods, and the toddler’s biological father claimed to have his doubts about his ex-wife’s story concerning their daughter’s disappearance. By Friday, December 1, investigators announced that they believed Mariah was dead and that they’d made an arrest in connection with her disappearance; her mother’s boyfriend, Earl Kimrey, who was charged with concealing of death, obstruction of justice, second-degree burglary, felony larceny, and possession of stolen property.
At around 5:30 p.m. on December 2, dive teams searching Shelter Creek along the heavily wooded area near the Woods’ home made a tragic, gruesome discovery: remains they believed belong to Mariah Woods. Within days, a medical examiner confirmed that the toddler’s body had indeed been found.
Now, as Fox News reports, even more disturbing details of young Mariah Woods’ life are coming to light as police investigate the circumstances leading up to her death. According to documents provided by the toddlers’ family, Earl Kimrey, the man accused of covering up Mariah’s death and dumping her body, also sexually abused the North Carolina toddler before her death.
Court documents provided to the Jacksonville Daily News by Mariah’s biological father, Alex Woods, say that Earl Kimrey not only abused the 3-year-old, he also sexually and physically abused her older brothers (Alex Woods’ biological sons), beating them both with a belt. On at least one occasion, Kimrey allegedly bloodied one of the boys’ noses. What’s more, Kristy Woods, the children’s mother, allegedly knew about the sexual and physical abuse.
“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?”
At one point, one of Mariah Woods’ older brothers reportedly witnessed his mother’s boyfriend’s sexual abuse of his baby sister. However, his mother allegedly “failed to protect” her children from the abuse meted out by her boyfriend.
“The respondent mother [Kristy Woods] failed to protect the juveniles from discipline by Mr. Kimrey. The respondent parents have a history of exposing the juveniles to adult situations and conversation during their ongoing custody battle.”
According to Alex Woods, he hadn’t seen his daughter for over a year at the time of her death, and he had to learn of her disappearance through a state-wide Amber Alert.
Autopsy results are still pending in the Mariah Woods case, and authorities have not publicly speculated regarding the toddlers’ cause of death. They have asserted, however, that Mariah died of “unnatural causes,” and that Earl Kimrey hid her death, then secretly disposed of her body.
Kimrey is currently being held at the Onslow County Detention Center on a $1,010,000 bond after making his first court appearance on Monday. According to District Attorney Ernie Lee, it is possible that more charges could be forthcoming in the death of 3-year-old Mariah Woods.
“This investigation continues. I will be awaiting the results of the medical examiner’s report and making some decisions at that time.”