Mariah believed to be dead; mother's live-in boyfriend arrested

Earl Kimrey

The sheriff's office says it is believed 3- year old Mariah Woods is dead, based on the evidence recovered in the investigation.

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.

An arrest has been made in connection with the disappearance of 3-year-old Mariah Woods.

Earlier Saturday, officials said that the live-in boyfriend of Mariah Woods' mother was charged in connection with the case.

The sheriff said Wilmington Police Department officers and e New Hanover County Sheriff's deputies were searching on horseback, and boats from the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries were in on the search.

There is no indication as yet that Mariah's body has been found but police believe she is deceased.

Investigators have charged him with concealing death, obstruction of justice and other charges. She said her boyfriend saw the child at about midnight when she got up and he told her to go back to bed.

Mariah was last seen Sunday night when her mom said she put Mariah to bed in their home on Dawson Cabin Road. The warrant states that he obstructed justice by "removing Mariah Woods body from the scene of her death and did hide Mariah Woods death and body, knowing that Mariah Woods died from unnatural causes".

Kimrey is now being held at the Onslow County Detention Center under a $1,010,000 bond.

"We all hoped and prayed to find her alive". The FBI said Thursday that it is testing "items of interest" at its lab in Quantico, Virginia.

The FBI released this photo of Mariah Woods, who was reporting missing on November 27, 2017.

Authorities said they have been using all means necessary to find Mariah including ground searches assist by a helicopter and K9 units - so far, officials have covered 100 acres.

At some point in the five hours between then, she said someone abducted the child - who has a walking impediment - from her bedroom. "Just bring her home, please, safe and sound".

"The focus of this investigation has changed from a missing child to homicide case", Meador added.

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