Amber Alert issued for 4 children, one with critical medical needs, taken by mother

Mom’s boyfriend arrested as officials think missing girl’s body found in N Carolina creek

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. –

Update at 7:20 p.m.

Authorities say they have recovered a body they think is a missing 3-year-old North Carolina girl from a creek in a neighboring county.

Onslow County Hans Miller said dive teams found Mariah Miller’s body around 5:30 p.m. Saturday.

FBI spokeswoman Shelley Lynch said in a statement the body was in a Pender County creek about 25 miles from Mariah Woods’ home in Jacksonville.

————————-

Earlier, people with surveillance footage near where a 3-year-old girl disappeared in eastern North Carolina were being urged to call police and share the video as they investigate the girl’s death.

FBI agent Stanley Meador on Saturday asked businesses or residents who live on U.S. Highway 17 or state Highway 53 in Onslow and Pender counties to call police if they have surveillance cameras.

Onslow County deputies say they charged 32-year-old Earl Kimrey with concealing a death. Arrest warrants say Kimrey moved Mariah Woods’ body from where she died, knowing her death was not natural.

Officials refused to say how the girl was killed.

“It is believed that Mariah is deceased,” the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement, even as what happened to Mariah Woods after her mother tucked her into bed nearly a week ago remains a mystery.

Earl Kimrey, 32, was being held Saturday on more than $1 million bond at the Onslow County Detention Center following his arrest for concealing a death, obstruction of justice and other charges, according to the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office.

Kimrey was described by authorities as the live-in boyfriend of the girl’s mother, who reported Mariah missing on Monday morning after putting her to bed in their Jacksonville home the previous night.

“Due to evidence gathered during the course of the investigation, it is believed that Mariah is deceased,” the sheriff’s office said. “At this time, the location of Mariah is unknown. The searches will now shift to a recovery process.”

The arrest warrant said Kimrey obstructed justice by “removing Mariah Woods’ body from the scene of her death, and did conceal (the) death and body, knowing that (she) died from unnatural causes.”

Kimrey allegedly “failed to notify a law enforcement authority of the death of Mariah Woods, and secretly disposed of the dead child’s body,” according to the warrant.

Kimrey’s attorney, Walter Paramore, did not immediately return a call for comment.

‘She’s my baby’

Mariah was last seen Sunday night when her mother, Kristy Woods, put the girl to bed, according to the sheriff’s office. Woods reported Mariah missing about 6 a.m. Monday, when an Amber Alert was issued.

More than 700 volunteers turned out Friday as the search for the missing girl shifted to the area around a creek a few miles from her home, CNN affiliate WNCN reported.

The FBI was analyzing items recovered during the search, which included sorting through 95,000 pounds of trash from a landfill, authorities said.

Residents were moved to action following Woods’ public appeals for help in the search for her “very sweet, loving girl” with blue eyes and long brown hair.

“I’ll do anything that I can, whatever you want,” said Woods, according to WNCN. “Just bring her home, please, safe and sound. She’s my baby. She’s my everything.”

Mariah’s family has been cooperating with investigators and additional charges could be filed in the case, authorities said.

Kimrey’s arrest warrant also states that he stole two dressers from a Jacksonville home between 11 p.m. Sunday and 3:30 a.m. Monday. He is also charged with second-degree burglary, felony larceny and possession of stolen property, authorities said.

Officials refused to say how the girl was killed.

Onslow County Sheriff Hans Miller said at a news conference that deputies are just as determined to bring the girl home as they were when it was still possible she was alive.