Officials said they have arrested the live-in boyfriend of Kristy Woods, the mother of 3-year-old Mariah Woods, in connection with what is now believed to be the death of the child.
On Saturday night, the FBI released a statement that “investigators have recovered remains believed to be 3-year old Mariah Woods in Shelter Creek along Shaw Highway in Pender County, North Carolina. Positive confirmation will be made by the medical examiner's office.”
Earlier Saturday, the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office said Mariah is presumed dead based on evidence gathered throughout the weeklong investigation into her disappearance.
“We all hoped and prayed to find her alive. But it is still extremely important that we find her. We have got to find her. We have got to bring her home,” Onslow County Sheriff Hans Miller said at a Saturday afternoon news conference.
“Allow us to review it to determine if it is of investigative value,” FBI agent Stanley Meador said.
Kristy Woods’ boyfriend, 32-year-old Earl Kimrey, was arrested Friday and charged with concealing of death, obstruction of justice, second-degree burglary, felony larceny and possession of stolen property, officials said. He is being held in the Onslow County Detention Center under a $1.01 million bond.
An arrest warrant released Saturday morning accuses Kimrey of “removing Mariah Woods body from the scene of the her death, and did conceal Mariah Woods death and body, knowing that Mariah Woods died from unnatural causes. The defendant acted with deceit and intent to defraud.” The warrant also says Kimrey “secretly disposed of the dead child’s body.”
Mariah Woods is described as white with brown hair and blue eyes, about 2-foot-9, weighing about 30 pounds.
She was abducted from a home on the 2400 block of Dawson Cabin Road in Jacksonville, according to an Amber Alert issued Monday, when she was reported missing. She was last seen when her mother put her to bed around 11 p.m. Sunday, according to the Charlotte Division of the FBI.
Since then, more than 225 members of 14 local, state and federal agencies conducted nearly 100 interviews, and followed more than 140 leads. Among them are the FBI’s Child Abduction Rapid Deployment team and Team Adam from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
At a Thursday press conference, FBI officials said that “items of interest” were taken to Quantico, Va., for testing that could “lead us to Mariah” but did not elaborate on what the items were, or where they were located.
Officials said 730 volunteers participated in a search for Mariah on Friday. Investigators also sorted through 95,000 pounds of trash by hand, searching for items of interest, the sheriff’s office said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office at 910-455-3113 or Crime Stoppers at 910-938-3273.
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?” Woods told WCTI-TV in New Bern last 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.