Mariah Woods’ live-in boyfriend has been arrested in connection with the missing three-year-old’s death.
Earl Kimrey, 32, was arrested for concealing a death and obstruction of justice. The police in Jacksonville, North Carolina, have not found Mariah’s body but they say they now believe she is dead.
Kimrey and her mother Kristy Woods told police she was the last see her at around midnight on Sunday. The toddler has been missing since 6 a.m. on Monday. They both reported that they told her to go back to bed the evening before. They went to her bedroom the next day and she was gone.
Saturday, in the early morning hours, Kimrey was brought before a magistrate and charged with concealing a death, obstruction of justice, burglary, larceny and possession of stolen property.
Although his arrest warrant does not explicitly say that he killed her, however, it alleges that he moved her lifeless body because he knew her death was not from natural causes.
He is being held in county jail on a bond of $1,010,000.
Alex Woods, the girl’s biological father said he did not believe Kimrey’s story. Woods, who has not seen his daughter for a year, despite claiming to have visitation rights, said he had been trying to get Mariah out of the home but that he could not afford a lawyer.
The Onslow County Sheriff’s Office said they now believe firmly that Mariah is dead but that they do not know where her body is.
‘Due to evidence gathered during the course of the investigation, it is believed that Mariah is deceased.
‘At this time, the location of Mariah is unknown. The searches will now shift to a recovery process,’ they said.
Kimrey was the last person to see Mariah alive on Monday night at around midnight, is now being held under $1,010,000 bond at the Onslow County Detention Center.
His long criminal history includes charges of larceny, assault, threats to government and being drunk and disorderly.
The charges date back to 2002, stretch over several counties and two states.
On Friday, social services would not confirm whether they had ever investigated Kimrey or the home where Mariah was living. Their spokesman refused to answer if there had ever been reported concerns about the family and said the information was confidential.
Investigators have now turned their missing persons search into a body recovery mission. On Friday, 700 local volunteers turned out with the hope of finding the girl alive.
‘Items of interest’ which the FBI sent to its lab in Quantico, have still not been revealed.
The items were sent directly to the FBI’s base in Virginia for testing on Wednesday afternoon.
Agents were seen searching the trailer where Mariah lived with her 29-year-old mother Kristy, her older brothers and Kimrey.
It had been five days since the little girl vanished from her home in the dead of night.
‘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?,’ Alex Woods said.
Woods said that he had been trying to win sole custody of Mariah and her older brothers but said he could not afford a lawyer.
Kristy disabled her Facebook account after posting the missing person’s appeal for her daughter claiming that Mariah was taken by a stranger.
Kristy said in a tearful television appearance on Tuesday, ‘Please, bring her back.’
‘I love her. I’ll do anything that I can, whatever you want. Please just bring her back safe and sound – she’s my baby, she’s my everything.’
When Kristy called the police to report her missing on Monday, she claimed she had not been seen since midnight when she checked on her, and that her boyfriend Earl was the last person to see Mariah alive. She claimed he saw her at 1 am and told her to go back to bed. At some point in the five hours between then, she said someone abducted the child – who has a walking impediment – from her bedroom.
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