Mariah Woods

Mariah Woods: As dad of slain AMBER Alert toddler battles for custody of surviving children, he explains why he shared court documents

‘Where was everyone? This could have all been prevented.’

Alex Woods stood at his 3-year-old daughter’s memorial site on Tuesday, and while wiping away his tears, explained why he decided to divulge previous court records, that listed claims of sexual and physical abuse that reportedly happened to his children by the hands of his ex-wife’s boyfriend.

“We’ve been trying to get lawyers, but all the lawyers we went to, they wanted thousands of dollars,” Heather Craft, Woods’ fiancé, told JDNews. “We didn’t have much support.”

Craft was referring to a tumultuous court battle over custody of Woods’ children that’s been ongoing with his ex-wife, Kristy Hunter, for years. Woods and Hunter had three children together, including Mariah Woods, who was found dead last week, and her two older brothers. According to Woods, he simply didn’t have the money required to get an attorney to help fight for his children.

“We can’t come up with that money at once,” Woods said.

Mariah Woods AMBER Alert
Missing toddler Mariah Woods [Photo: Family Handout]
Instead, Woods took photos of court documents, in hopes that it would help him get his two boys back, ages 10 and 5, and spread awareness of the situation involving child abuse. The two boys are temporarily in the care of the North Carolina Department of Children’s Services, but their maternal grandmother indicated she was now their “sole caregiver.” Woods and Craft are gearing up to go to court on Friday for a custody hearing.

“We’re just trying to save someone else’s child and to let them know they’re not alone,” Craft told JDNews, explaining additional reasons why they decided to release the court documents. “Where was everyone? This could have all been prevented.”

Woods and Craft said they want the boys to live with them to prevent any further trauma, but they want to ease them back into their home slowly and carefully, so that the boys are comfortable.

Craft sent copies of the court documents to CrimeOnline, which detailed accusations of the children being unsafe in Hunter’s home due to “a substantial risk of physical injury or sexual abuse because of the parent, guardian, custodian, or caretaker has created conditions likely to cause injury or abuse or has failed to provide, or is unable to provide, adequate supervision or protection.”

The documents indicate that in 2011, Hunter’s live-in boyfriend, Earl Kimrey, was accused of obstructing and resisting a police officer in a domestic matter involving a 40-year-old victim named Ray Lane. In another 2011 incident, Kimrey was named as a “missing person,” although the details on the incident are scant.

Posted by Ashley Anderson on Tuesday, December 5, 2017

 

In April 2016, officers responded to a call about a “juvenile” who suffered injuries. The address was listed as the home of Kimrey and Hunter, but someone blotted out the address on the documents with a white marker.

In Oct. 2017, police responded to Hunter’s home for a property damage dispute in which she’s named as a victim, but the documents indicate that she had no injuries.

Additional allegations in the court documents accuse Kimrey of physically abusing Hunter’s son by hitting him with a belt and giving one of the boy’s a bloody nose. Hunter was accused of failing to protect her children.

“The respondent mother failed to protect the juveniles from discipline by Mr. Kimrey,” the report read.

Further, documents allege that Kimrey sexually assaulted Mariah, according to one of the boys who said he saw Kimrey put his penis into Mariah’s mouth.

Kimrey is currently in jail after authorities found Mariah’s lifeless body in a creek. As CrimeOnline previously reported, authorities found Mariah in the Shelter Creek in Pender County, North Carolina, just 20 minutes away from her Jacksonville home, on Saturday.

According to Cradt, Hunter reportedly tried to blame the little girl’s death on her 10-year-old son.

“Earl Kimrey and Kristy are trying to say that that’s why…and now that Earl panicked and was trying to clean it up.”

Craft told CrimeOnline‘s Nancy Grace that law enforcement reportedly isn’t buying Hunter’s alleged story, but the cause of death hasn’t been confirmed, pending official autopsy results.

“They’re [law enforcement] are trying to figure out exactly what happened,” Craft told Grace.

Mariah Woods [Photo: Handout]
Meanwhile, Onslow County Sheriff Hans Miller said that as of Weds., there are still no additional criminal charges in regards to Mariah’s case. Kimrey remains in jail on charges of removing Mariah’s deceased body and concealing her death, along with burglary, larceny, possession of stolen property, and obstruction of justice. He’s not currently facing murder charges for the Mariah’s death, but authorities are still awaiting the results of the toddler’s autopsy.

“We’re not ruling out anything,” Miller said. “We go where the evidence takes us.”

Hunter is not currently facing any criminal charges. However, Miller is asking the public to be patient and understanding, as the legal process can take time– and divulging information to the public prematurely could cause issues with the investigation.

“I think the public needs to be aware that a lot of things have been done that we just can’t talk about because we want to maintain the integrity of the investigation. You just don’t jump the gun. We make sure everything is done properly.”

Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.

[Feature Photo: Mariah Woods/Family Handout]