Missing 3-Year-Old Girl Found Dead & Her Mom's Boyfriend Has Been Charged


News 12

When 3-year-old Mariah Woods was reported missing from her North Carolina home last week, the public had every reason to hope she'd be returned to her family safe and sound. Now, tragically, investigators believe they have recovered the child's body, and her mother's boyfriend has been arrested in connection with her disappearance.

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An Amber Alert was issued for Mariah Woods last Monday, November 27, at 6 a.m. At the time, her mother, Kristy Woods, said she put her little girl to bed on Sunday night and woke up to find her gone. The mom assumed Mariah had been abducted and made an emotional plea for her safe return. "I'll do anything that I can, whatever you want," she told WNCN last week. "Just bring her home, please, safe and sound. She's my baby. She's my everything."


Onslow County Sheriff

Over 700 volunteers came together to help find Mariah, but ultimately a body believed to be hers was discovered on Saturday, December 2, by a dive team in a creek about 25 miles away from the little girl's home. The same night, her mom's live-in boyfriend, Earl Kimrey, was arrested and charged with concealing a death and obstruction of justice. 

According to CNN, the arrest warrant stated Kimrey allegedly removed "Mariah Woods' body from the scene of her death, and did conceal [the] death and body, knowing that [she] died from unnatural causes," and that he "failed to notify a law enforcement authority of the death of Mariah Woods, and secretly disposed of the dead child's body."

Investigators haven't revealed exactly what they believe happened to Mariah or what evidence led to Kimrey's arrest, but some have been suspicious of Mariah's mother and her boyfriend since the very beginning. After Mariah's disappearance went public, her dad, Alex Woods -- who is the biological father of Mariah and her two brothers -- told WCTI-TV NewsChannel 12 that he didn't even find out his daughter was missing until he heard the Amber Alert, and he was immediately skeptical of his ex's claims that Mariah may have been kidnapped. "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?" he said. "Nobody heard anything? Four people in the house, two adults and two kids, someone just comes up and snatches the baby and walks out?"

Many online are asking how the mom could have been unaware that her boyfriend was allegedly involved in her daughter's death, and one person even started a petition calling for her arrest. For now, prosecutors have not commented on whether or not they believe Mariah's mother played a role in the crime or if more people will be charged. Earl Kimrey is being held on $1 million bond and others in the community say they are focused on grieving for Mariah and making sure justice is served.

"It's impacting our children," Anna Rust, a fellow mom in the community, told WRAL at a prayer vigil for Mariah. "Something so tragic has impacted our own children that are still here with us. We just have to hold onto our kids and watch over them."

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