The remains of a deceased toddler found in a creek in North Carolina as 3-year-old Mariah Woods, the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office reported on Wednesday afternoon.
JDNews reports that although most family members and loved ones already assumed the little girl’s body was that of Mariah, reported missing on Nov. 27 by her mother, Kristy Hunter, the Medical Examiner’s Office in Jacksonville gave official confirmation. Mariah was the center of an AMBER Alert after Hunter said she disappeared from her bedroom in Jacksonville at some point between the night of Nov. 26 and the early morning of Noc. 27.
Last week, authorities arrested Hunter’s boyfriend, Earl Kimrey, and charged him with moving and concealing Mariah’s body, but they haven’t yet said what them to determine he was reportedly involved. He’s currently being held behind bars on a $1 million bond. Kimrey is also facing charges of second degree burglary, obstruction of justice, larceny, and possession of stolen property.
On Wednesday, family and friends gathered together to mourn the loss of the little girl described by her father, Alex Woods, as a happy, care-free child who loved to dance.
“She loved to dance,” Woods told JDNews. “Especially in the car.”
Onslow County Sheriff Hans Miller joined the family at the memorial to pay his respects and to mourn with them.
“We’re grieving with Mariah’s family. We in the community and in law enforcement consider her to be one of our own. She is no longer with us but we all still love her.”
Maj. Chris Thomas with the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office confirmed after the memorial that the body found was indeed Mariah, yet he couldn’t yet comment on the little girl’s cause of death. Autopsy results are currently pending. In the meantime, no one has been charged with murder in connection to the toddler’s death.
Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.
[Feature Photo: Family Handout]