JACKSONVILLE, NC — Investigators found the body of missing North Carolina toddler Mariah Woods in a creek on Saturday, and her mother’s boyfriend has been charged with hiding her body, police say.
Investigators have charged Earl Kimrey with concealing of death after they say that Kimrey knew the 3-year-old toddler did not die of natural causes and allegedly hid her body, according to arrest warrants.
Onslow County Sheriff Hans Miller said the girl’s body was found by dive teams at around 5:30 P.M. on Saturday in a creek in Pender County about 25 miles from the home Kimrey shared with Mariah’s mother Kristy Woods in Jacksonville, FBI spokeswoman Shelley Lynch said in a statement.
Kimrey is accused of “removing Mariah Woods’ body from the scene of her death” and concealing “Mariah Woods’ death and body, knowing that Mariah died from unnatural causes. The defendant acted with deceit and intent to fraud,” according to an arrest warrant.
Kristy said she last saw her daughter when she put her to bed Sunday night, and the couple reported Mariah missing on Monday morning.
An Amber Alert was issued for Mariah on Monday, and the search for the little girl sparked a manhunt that involved hundreds of volunteers along with the FBI and local authorities.
Kristy made an emotional plea for her daughter’s return on TV. But Mariah’s father Alex Woods, who has been involved in a custody dispute with her mother, has told reporters that he did not believe his ex-wife’s version of the story.
Kimrey, 32, is also charged with obstruction of justice, second-degree burglary, felony larceny, and possession of stolen property.
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Main photo: Earl Kimrey [POLICE PHOTO]