Update: 

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. — On Saturday night, the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office said that human remains had been found in the search for a missing North Carolina 3-year-old.

Earl Kimrey was arrested late Friday and was being held at the Onslow County Detention Center on a $1 million bond in the disappearance of Mariah Woods, deputies said.

According to a news release from the sheriff's office, “human remains of a child strongly believed to be that of Mariah Woods” had been located during a “concentrated search effort in Shelter Creek along Shaw Highway in Pender County. ...

“An autopsy will be conducted by the medical examiner's office to determine cause of death and absolute verification of identity.”

The investigation is ongoing, according to the release. 

Updated 5:04 p.m.:

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. — Authorities in North Carolina have arrested a man in connection with the disappearance of a young girl and said they are determined to find the child's body.

Earl Kimrey of Jacksonville, who is originally from Mebane, was arrested late Friday and was being held at the Onslow County Detention Center on a $1 million bond in the disappearance of 3-year-old Mariah Woods, deputies said.

Investigators think the girl is dead, but they have not found her body, the sheriff's office said in a statement that did not say how authorities think the girl was killed.

"The searches will now shift to a recovery process," deputies said of the more than 700 volunteers that poured into the county along the North Carolina coast about 120 miles southeast of Raleigh, searching woods, outbuildings and anyplace else for the girl.

Kimrey removed the girl's body from the place where she died and knew her death was not natural, according to arrest warrants. Deputies did not release any details on how she may have died.

"We all hoped and prayed to find her alive. But it is still extremely important that we find her. We have got to find her. We have got to bring her home," Onslow County Sheriff Hans Miller said at a Saturday news conference.

The FBI asked for any business or residents near U.S. 17 or N.C. 53 in the area where the girl disappeared to call police and let them see the footage.

"Allow us to review it to determine if it is of investigative value," FBI agent Stanley Meador said.

Mariah was reported missing Monday morning by her mother, who said she last saw her when she put her to bed the night before.

Kristy Woods made tearful pleas for her daughter's return. "This is my world, this is my angel," she said.

FBI spokeswoman Shelley Lynch confirmed Kimrey lived with Mariah and her mother.

Neither Miller nor Meador would give details about what led them to arrest Kimrey, 32. He is charged with concealing of death, obstruction of justice, second-degree burglary, felony larceny and possession of stolen property. Prosecutors are reviewing whether additional charges should be filed.

The statement did not indicate whether Kimrey had a lawyer or if anyone else could also be charged.

Mariah's father, who has been involved in a custody dispute with her mother, has criticized her version of events.

"Someone just walked right up in there, grabbed the 3-year-old out of the bed and she didn't cry, she didn't scream?" Woods told WCTI-TV in New Bern earlier in the week. "Nobody heard anything? Four people in the house, two adults and two kids someone just comes up and snatches the baby and walks out?"

According to Kimrey's Facebook page, he is from Mebane, attended Orange County High School in Hillsborough, and studied HVAC at Alamance Community College in Graham.

Kimrey was convicted of larceny in 2005 in Alamance County, according to the N.C. Department of Safety website. In 2012, he was convicted in Onslow County of assault/threat against government. His most recent conviction was for larceny in Brunswick County in 2015. He received probation for all of these.

- Winston-Salem Journal Staff Report


JACKSONVILLE — The Onslow County Sheriff's Office has arrested a man in connection to the disappearance of 3-year-old Mariah Woods.

In a news release Saturday, the sheriff's office also stated that it believes the toddler is dead.

Earl Kimrey, 32, was taken into custody by sheriff's investigators Friday. He is charged with concealing of death, obstruction, second-degree burglary, felony larceny and possession of stolen property. Kimrey is Mariah's mother's boyfriend, according to multiple media reports.

According to Kimrey's Facebook page, he is from Mebane, attended Orange County High School in Hillsborough, and studied HVAC at Alamance Community College in Graham.

Kimrey is currently being held in the Onslow County Detention Center with bail set at $1,010,000. Additional charges could be pending as the investigation continues.

Kimrey was convicted of larceny in 2005 in Alamance County, according to the N.C. Department of Safety website. In 2012, he was convicted in Onslow County of assault/threat against government. His most recent conviction was for larceny in Brunswick County in 2015. He received probation for all of these.

At this time, the location of Mariah is unknown. The searches will now shift to a recovery process. She was last seen in her Jacksonville home late Sunday night.

Anyone with information should contact Onslow County Sheriff’s Office at 910-455-3113 or Crime Stoppers at 910-938-3273.

- Winston-Salem Journal Staff Report

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