Officials find remains believed to be Mariah Woods :: –

Officials find remains believed to be Mariah Woods ::


Jacksonville, N.C. – Authorities found remains Saturday night who believe they are 3-year-old Mariah Woods, according to the Onslow County Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff Hans Miller said that the researchers recovered a body around 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Shelter Creek along Shaw Highway in Pender County.

A positive confirmation of identity will be made by the coroner's office.

Discovering Mariah's body

The dive team of the Fayetteville Police Department discovered the body of the child.

At a press conference on Saturday afternoon, FBI officials called the search for the boy, who had been missing since Sunday, a "homicide investigation."

"I am very sad to inform you that we have recovered what we believe is the remains of little Mariah Woods," Miller said. "We all expected a better result."

Search teams extended the search for the missing girl from Onslow County to neighboring Pender County a half day after authorities arrested her mother's boyfriend in connection with his disappearance.

District Attorney Ernie Lee called the search an extremely challenging and emotional week.

"This investigation continues," he said. "We will wait for the results of the coroner's report and we will make some decisions at that time."

The mother's boyfriend is charged

The Onslow County Sheriff's Office and the FBI arrested Earl Kimrey, 32, on Friday night and accused him of hiding a death, obstruction of justice, Second-degree theft, theft and possession of stolen property. He was detained at the Onslow County Detention Center with a $ 1 million bonus.

Investigators did not say what led them to suspect Kimrey or what evidence they have that Mariah is dead.

The arrest warrant issued for Kimrey said he obstructed justice by "removing Mariah Woods's body from the scene of his death and hid the death and body of Mariah Woods, knowing that Mariah Woods died of unnatural causes. The defendant acted with deceit and attempted fraud. "

Kimrey "secretly removed the corpse of the dead child," the order said.

State records show that Kimrey had previously been charged with a series of lower level crimes dating back to 2005. Kimrey's previous charges include theft, badault and disorderly and drunken behavior. according to the state's online records.

Kimrey graduated from Orange High School in Hillsborough.

Dueling Community

Since the news of his death, a memorial with flowers and stuffed animals from community members has been started near his home, at 2404 Dawson Cabin Road in Jacksonville.

Angela Wiles, who began the memorial, said she felt compelled to begin the memorial so that the community would focus on the monument instead of the suspect arrested for his death.

"I was struggling a bit with the sign and the wood, and a gentleman stopped and asked me if I needed help, and that also meant a lot to me," Wiles said. "The whole community is really coming together, it's about her, justice for her and taking her home."

Community members of all ages honored and commemorated the girl. The people gathered in prayer for hours on Saturday night.

"I was sad for her," said Kiera Ezel, 7. "I wanted to take two gifts."

Another little girl appeared with her family to place a tiara on the sign, because "Mariah looked like a princess" in the images that are shared with the news.

"It's impacting our children," said community member Anna Rust. "Something so tragic has impacted our own children who are still here with us, we just have to hold onto our children and watch over them."

"My daughter wanted to give Mariah one of her teddy bears just to show her that we love her," said Megan James, who has a three-year-old as Mariah.

Mariah's parents are divorced, and her father, Alex Woods, said that while her daughter had been living with her mother, her week had been "like hell, like a nightmare."

Agencies involved in the case include the Onslow County Sheriff's Office, New Hanover County Sheriff's Office, Pender County Sheriff's Office, Diving Equipment of the Fayetteville Police Department, Criminal Investigation Service Naval, State Office of Investigation and Federal Office of Investigation.

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