EXCLUSIVE: Dad of missing AMBER Alert tot speaks out on custody issues, reported child abuse, and possible neighbor witness

As authorities continue to search for a missing North Carolina toddler, her biological father, desperate to find her, opened up about a vicious ongoing custody battle between himself and the child’s mother, along with other information that can hopefully lead to the location of the little girl.

CrimeOnline’s Nancy Grace spoke exclusively with Alex Woods, the father of 3-year-old Mariah Woods, a Jacksonville toddler missing since Sunday. Authorities have no new leads in the case that they can share, and report that it’s still to early to publicly state what happened to her. Yet, Woods said he didn’t buy the story that someone came into the home and snatched Mariah while her mom, Kristy Hunter, and the mom’s boyfriend, Earl Kimrey, slept.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, Hunter told authorities she last checked on Mariah at around 11 p.m. on Sunday night. She said Kimrey checked on the toddler at around midnight. The following morning, at around 6:30 a.m., Hunter said she checked on Mariah again, but she was nowhere in the home and hasn’t been seen since.

Mariah Woods [Photo: Handout]
Woods said that Hunter never contacted him to let him know Mariah was missing, even though the pair are in a tumultuous custody battle over their three children. Woods told Grace he heard about his missing daughter on the radio, which shocked him. He then explained that he had custody of the children for around a month in 2016, after Kimrey reportedly abused one of the children.

According to Woods, in 2016, Hunter lost custody of the three children after Kimrey beat the oldest son, 10-year-old Ryan, with a belt. Woods, who was granted custody of the kids for around a month, said that Hunter covered the incident up, lied to child social services workers, and eventually got the children back.

Woods: “Earl, her boyfriend, beat Ryan with a belt and left bruises. And they tried to cover it up and say he fell off of a bunk bed. “

Grace: “Are you saying this about the live-in boyfriend?”

Woods: “The live-in boyfriend, he’s the one that beat Ryan with a belt, and Kristy covered it up.”

Woods also said that a neighbor who lives close to Hunter and Kimrey claimed that she witnessed Kimrey leaving out of the back door of his trailer at around 3 a.m. on Monday morning, and he seemed to be carrying something “limp” in his hands.

Regardless, Woods is holding onto hope that someone somewhere has his little girl. He is pleading for her safe return.

“Please bring my little baby girl back home. She’s precious and she’s innocent and she’s done nothing to nobody. I mean she’s a little 3-year-old girl. Me and my fiance, we love her so much. We miss her so much. Daddy loves you so much baby. Please come home, honey.”

Timeline of Mariah’s Disappearance

Nov. 27

The FBI is helping Jacksonville, North Carolina, authorities locate a 3-year-old little girl who police say was abducted from her own home.

WITN reports that an AMBER Alert was issued on Monday morning at around 6:45 a.m. for Mariah Woods, a toddler last seen at around 11 p.m. on Sunday night when her mother, Kristy Kay Hunter, put her to bed inside their Jacksonville home at 2404 Dawson Cabin Road. At around midnight, Hunter’s live-boyfriend, Earl Kimrey, checked on the toddler and told Hunter to “go back to bed.”

Sheriff Miller of the Onslow County Sheriff’s Department said at this point, they aren’t sure who has the little girl or exactly what happened.

“We don’t know what happened. It’s entirely premature to try to determine what happened.”

Mariah is described as a white female, standing around 2 feet 9 inches tall, with blonde hair and blue eyes. She weighs around 30 pounds.

Along with the FBI and local law enforcement, four volunteer fire departments and K9 units joined in on the search effort. Onslow County Communications utilized a drone to help look overhead throughout the area, while The Provost Marshals Office from Camp Lejeune and the Camp Lejeune Range Control.

Authorities interviewed both the little girl’s mother and her mother’s live-in boyfriend, but it’s still unclear, what, if any, leads detectives have at this point. Officials are asking all residents in the nearby areas to search their yards, garages, and cars.

Anyone with any information on Mariah’s whereabouts is asked to contact If you have any information regarding this incident, call the Onslow County Sheriff immediately at 910-455-3113, or call 911.


Nov. 28 

The father of a missing 3-year-old toddler in North Carolina spoke out on Tuesday as authorities continue to look for the little girl, who disappeared from her home on early Monday morning.

ABC12 reports that Alex Woods is the biological father to missing toddler, Mariah Woods, of Jacksonville, as well as the father of her two older brothers, ages 10 and 5. Woods told the station that he hasn’t seen his children in over a year after a nasty custodial dispute between himself and the children’s mother, Kristy Hunter. He said he custody of the children for around a month last year after an incident that alerted Child Protective Services, but when Hunter got the kids back, she reportedly wasn’t cooperative in allowing Woods visitation.

Apparently, due to the volatile history between the former couple, Woods isn’t convinced that the story Hunter told police is true. According to Hunter, she checked on her daughter at around 11 p.m at their home at 2404 Dawson Cabin Road in Jacksonville. She said at midnight, her live-in boyfriend, Earl Kimrey, checked on the toddler and allegedly told Hunter to “go back to bed.”

Hunter checked on her daughter again at 6:30 a.m. and the little girl was missing.“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 asked. “Nobody heard anything? Four people in the house, two adults and two kids someone just comes up and snatches the baby and walks out?”

Nov. 29 

A North Carolina woman says she is the woman in the photos the FBI released on Wednesday morning, in hopes that someone could identify whether the toddler in the images was a missing AMBER Alert girl, Mariah Woods.

ABC North Carolina reports that Jetta Long, of Newport, NC, said that the little girl in question, who looks similar to 3-year-old Mariah, is actually her own daughter, Luna. Long told the station that her daughter was born with a shortened leg and she understood how authorities may have questioned the child’s identity, as Mariah uses leg braces.

Mariah Woods possible sighting
The child pictured in the surveillance photos is NOT Mariah Woods. [Photo: FBI]

Long also indicated that she does not know Mariah’s family, and was saddened that the photos “may have gotten the hopes of the family up.”

Anyone with information is urged to call the Onslow County Sheriff immediately at 910-455-3113, or call 911.

[Feature Photo: Mariah Woods/Handout]