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An Amber Alert has been issued for Mariah Woods, a 3-year-old girl who disappeared from her family’s home in the middle of the night.
The child vanished from her mother’s trailer on Dawson Cabin Road in Onslow County, North Carolina. The FBI has now joined in the case’s investigation, according to WITN-TV. Ominously, the investigation on November 28 focused on a trash can near the trailer. Earl Kimrey, the mother’s live-in boyfriend, was the last person to see the child alive, news reports said, but authorities would not confirm who last saw the child, calling it an “investigative detail.”
The child’s biological father, who doesn’t live in the home, questioned how she could have been taken without anyone in the home hearing.”Somebody just, walked right up in there, grabbed the three-year-old out the bed – she didn’t cry, she didn’t scream. Nobody heard nothing,” Alex Woods said. Some on social media also expressed skepticism that the child just disappeared without anyone hearing anything or knowing anything. The mother’s Facebook page has filled up with negative comments questioning the story, although many others are offering prayers.
Rumors exploded online that the child’s body was found, but, in a November 28 press conference, authorities said they were still looking for Mariah. “Priority number one is to find Mariah,” the FBI said in a Tuesday press conference. “Our focus right now is to find her, bring her back and figure out what happened,” the sheriff said. “…We will not rule out any possible situation that may have occurred.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Mother Says Mariah Disappeared From Her Bedroom in the Home & Authorities Were Focused on a Trash Can
Kristy Woods told authorities that she woke up Monday morning November 27, 2017 “and noticed her daughter was missing from her bedroom. She says the last time she saw her daughter was around 11:00 p.m. Sunday when she went to check on her.” The mother also said that, after she checked on the child, “her live-in boyfriend checked on the toddler again when she woke up, and told her to go back to sleep. Woods went to check on her the following morning, but alerted authorities at around 6 a.m. when she couldn’t find her,” NBC News reported.
“Earlier today it appeared that evidence was being collected from the child’s home where she was last seen,” reported WITN-TV. “Investigators took particular interest in a trash can outside of the home on Dawson Cabin Road where the toddler lives. The trash can was surrounded by crime scene tape before it was moved from the scene into the back of a law enforcement vehicle.”
The statewide Amber Alert for the girl reads, “This is a North Carolina Amber Alert for a Child Abduction. The Onslow County Sheriff’s office is searching for Mariah Kay Woods. She was last seen at 2405 Lot 7 Dawson Cabin Rd Jacksonville, North Carolina at 11:30pm in bed at her home. The abductor is unknown at this time, with an unknown direction of travel. If you have any information regarding this abduction, call Onslow County Sheriff’s Office immediately at 910-455-3113.”
A news release from the Sheriff’s Department was brief. “Onslow County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help locating a missing 3-year-old child,” it read. “Mariah Woods…3-year-old Caucasian Female, Blonde Hair, approx. 20-25 kg. Last seen Sunday, November 26th when put to bed. Mom contact the Sheriff’s Office at 6:00AM Monday, November 27th to report her missing. She was last seen in the area of 2404 Dawson Cabin Road in Jacksonville; unknown clothing.”
Adding to the bizarre twists in the case, police released surveillance videos of a woman with a little girl from a local Walmart, which were taken Monday, and asked the public’s help to identify whether the child in them was Mariah Woods.
Police said they weren’t sure whether the girl in the photos is the missing child.
2. Mariah’s Distraught Mother Called Her a ‘Very Sweet Loving Girl
Mariah’s mother, Kristy, has given emotional comments to the news media in the wake of her young daughter’s disappearance.
“If anybody knows where she is at or any information, just please call the sheriff’s department or notify anybody. She could be anywhere. She is very sweet loving girl. Long brown hair, blue eyes. Goes by Mariah. She has walking difficulties, so please, if anybody sees her. She is 3-years-old, please notify them,” the mother said in one TV interview.
She also told WNCT-TV: “I’ll do anything that I can, whatever you want. Just bring her home please safe and sound. She’s my baby. She’s my everything.”
On Facebook, the mother wrote, “I am sitting here can’t sleep just thinking of m my babygirl, mommy loves you praying your safe and i will see you and your beatuiful smile. Plz everyone pray thank you for everyone who has helped today it shared her pics.” Her Facebook page describes her as “a stay at home mommy of three my life revolves around my babies.” She went to Dixon High School and lives in Jacksonville, NC. The page says she is in a relationship with Earl Kimrey. Her live-in boyfriend’s page says that he studied HVAC/R and is also from North Carolina.
“Guys plz look for my baby and pray she is safe,” Kristy also wrote on Facebook.
3. The Sheriff’s Department Is Conducting Organized Searches
The missing child case falls under the jurisdiction of the Onslow County Sheriff’s Department, which is conducting organized searches for the child, according to a Facebook post the department made. K-9 units and helicopters were “combing” the “rural community near the North Carolina coast,” NBC News reported.
“The Onslow County Sheriff’s Office among other agencies are working very hard on the investigation of the disappearance of 3 year old Mariah Woods. The Sheriff’s office is encouraged that so many citizens are offering to volunteer their time and effort to assist in the search efforts,” the post reads. “At this time the Sheriff’s Office has sufficient manpower to conduct continued organized searches. The Sheriff’s Office does encourage citizens to be observant in their own neighborhoods.”
The post outlined a reward. “If you see something that looks out of place or a child that matches the description of Mariah, PLEASE DO NOT HESITATE TO CONTACT THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE AT 989-4070, CRIME STOPPERS AT 938-2373 OR DISPATCH AT 911. The Sheriff’s Office sincerely appreciates the outpouring of support in this investigation by the members of our community. Crime Stoppers offers cash rewards of up to $2,500 for information that is deemed of value or assistance to law enforcement. Information can also be anonymously texted via Text-A-Tip by typing TIP4CSJAX and your message to 274637 (CRIMES). Callers to Crime Stoppers may remain anonymous and never have to reveal their identity.”
4. Mariah Has a Leg Problem That Would Make It Hard For Her to Walk Away
Family members told the news media that they don’t think Mariah walked away on her own because of her very young age and also because she has a leg ailment. “Family members said Mariah has an orthopedic leg problem, so when she walks her left leg is thrown around and causes her to wobble,” WNCT-TV reported.
A family friend said the girl was shy and wouldn’t go with a stranger. “She’s a sweet child, but she is shy with strangers, so she wouldn’t just go with a stranger,” said family friend Anne Edwards to WRAL-TV.
5. There Were Other People in the Home When Mariah Disappeared
The mother and child weren’t the only people in the home during the disappearance. The mother also has a live-in boyfriend, and her two older brothers were in the residence too. Her biological father told authorities that he does not have the child, according to WNCT, which added that there was no sign of forced entry at the home.
The mother’s Facebook page is filled with photos of her children carving pumpkins, at the beach, putting up a Christmas tree, and dressed up in Halloween costumes.