Authorities have made an arrest related to the disappearance of 3-year-old Mariah Woods on Monday in Jacksonville, North Carolina.
After several days of searching, the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI announced on Saturday that they have arrested the live-in boyfriend of the child’s mother. He has been identified as 32-year-old Early Kimrey. The authorities have charged him with multiple offenses, including concealing a death, obstruction of justice and burglary.
The authorities, however, did not explain yet why and how Kimrey became the suspect, or what he has done to raise such suspicions that he could be the culprit. The investigations are
FBI officials also disclosed in a release Saturday that they have proof to believe that unfortunately, the girl is dead already. Her body, however, has yet to be found.
Officials also shared that they are transitioning from search operations to recovery operations.
The authorities called on Thursday for civilians to join and assist law enforcement officers in the land and air search for the toddler. An overwhelming number of people totaling more than 700 came Friday to join and help in the search for little Mariah. Dozens of volunteers had to be turned away.
Onslow County Sheriff Hans Miller said that volunteers even came as far away as Raleigh, which is 120 miles southeast of Jacksonville.
The search for Mariah is already on its fifth day, but officials said no new clues were yet to be established.
The past efforts to find the little girl have been massive that involved e New Hanover County Sheriff’s deputies searching on horseback, and North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries searching on boats.
The girl’s mother, Kristy Woods, told local media that she last saw her daughter at around 11 p.m. Sunday when she checked on her. She also shared that her boyfriend last saw the child at about midnight when she the girl got up and was told to go back to bed.
The mother said they immediately called the police when they realized Mariah was missing.
Woods also made an emotional appeal for the girl’s safe return on Monday night. She said: “This is my world. This is my angel. She was sent to me for a reason. This is my everything besides my boys, the love that I have for this girl.”’
The investigation for the Mariah Woods case enjoys the support of more than 14 agencies. Officials have also conducted 100 interviews, followed more than 140 leads and is getting the help of more than 225 investigators working around the clock.
The FBI also added that it has been sending “items of interest” to its lab in Quantico, Virginia, for priority testing in Mariah’s case.