A missing 3-year-old North Carolina girl is believed to be dead and her mother's live-in boyfriend faces charges in connection with her disappearance, authorities said.
Earl Kimrey, 32, was taken into custody Friday as authorities gathered evidence leading them to believe Mariah Woods is dead, KTLA sister station WGHP reported.
Her mother told investigators she last saw Mariah Sunday, and Kimrey saw her later that night.
Missing 3-year-old girl was abducted from her bed, police say
The FBI released images Wednesday that may possibly show a missing North Carolina 3-year-old at a Walmart in Morehead City. Mariah's biological father, Alex Woods, told WCTI-TV his daughter's disappearance was "a nightmare". "That's my daughter.
A homicide investigation is underway following the disappearance of a three-year-old girl in North Carolina, according to the FBI Saturday afternoon. "The searches will now shift to a recovery process", the Federal Bureau of Investigation said. He was being held in the Onslow County Detention Center under a $1 million bond, a news release stated.
Earlier this week, Mariah's biological father, who has not seen her for more than a year, said he did not believe she was abducted.
Onslow County Sheriff Hans Miller said at a news conference that deputies are just as determined to bring the girl home as they were when it was still possible she was alive.
Kimrey removed the girl's body from the place where she died and knew her death was not natural, according to arrest warrants.
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Miller said authorities will look at anything found and decide whether they need to look in another area. The warrant also says that Kimrey "secretly disposed of the dead child's body". Additional charges are pending. "All with one mission: to help us find Mariah".
The statement did not indicate whether Kimrey had a lawyer or if anyone else could also be charged. Once they realized she was missing, the couple said they called authorities.
"Sadly, it was too late to save Mariah the moment the 911 call came in", said FBI Senior Resident Agent Stanley Meador. "Four people in the house, two adults and two kids, someone just comes up and snatches the baby and walks out?"
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