New Details About Missing 3-Year-Old Mariah Woods — And Why Her Dad Doesn't Believe She Was Kidnapped From Her Bed Like Her Mom Said

Photo: WJLA
Amber alert issued for missing North Carolina girl, Mariah Woods
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He thinks she and her live-in boyfriend had "something to do with it."

A young girl was reported missing on Monday in North Carolina, and her mother says she was abducted from her home.

An amber alert was issued for Mariah Woods, 3, when her mother realized she was missing from her home in Jacksonville early on Monday morning. The girl was confirmed missing by Sherriff Hans Miller.

Kristy Hunter, the toddler’s mother, said she put Mariah to bed Sunday night and checked on her at 11 p.m. Her boyfriend, Earl Kimrey, lives at the house and said he also checked on the child at midnight. When Hunter went to check on Mariah at 6:30 a.m. the next morning she was nowhere to be found.

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Mariah’s biological father, Alex Woods, found out his daughter was missing via an amber alert. He doesn't believe Hunter’s story that the girl was kidnapped.

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 while talking to News Channel 12. “Nobody heard anything? Four people in the house, two adults and two kids someone just comes up and snatches the baby and walks out?”

The sheriff said he is doing everything he can to find Mariah, but the 48-hour mark has passed. The first 48 hours after a child has gone missing are the most crucial hours in investigating and bringing the child home safely.

"We don't know what happened," Sheriff Miller said. "It's entirely premature to try to determine what happened."

The blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl was supposed to be in Woods’ custody but hasn't seen her or her two older brothers, who are 10 and 5 years old, in over a year. After a custodial dispute last year following an incident that brought in Child Protective Services, Woods had custody of the kids for a month before Hunter didn't cooperate with the visitation agreement.

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He hasn't seen the kids since.

Woods and his partner told News Channel 12 they are hoping for the best. Police said they do not believe Woods or his partner are suspects. Woods doesn't believe his daughter was kidnapped but said his ex-wife and her boyfriend "have something to do with it."

Surveillance footage, WCTI12

FBI released surveillance footage of a woman with a blonde toddler and asked if anyone could identify the woman, wondering if the girl was Mariah.

Jetta Long, 23, from Newport told WCTI that the footage was of herself and her daughter, not Mariah.

Long said she doesn't know the family of the missing girl but she is frustrated that this misunderstanding “may have gotten the hopes of the family up."

"The child is not Mariah Woods," FBI spokeswoman Shelley Lynch said in an email. "We appreciate the public's assistance providing the information to investigators and for helping us fully investigate to rule this out as a lead to find Mariah."

Local law enforcement along with the FBI, NCIS, four volunteer fire departments and K-9 units are looking for the missing toddler. A military police mobile command unit was set up in front of Hunter’s house, 2404 Dawson Cabin Road, where the toddler was last seen. The house has been surrounded by crime scene tape.

"We are widening the search and working on a plan to include civilian volunteers," Sheriff Hans Miller said.

Mariah is a white female, stands about 2 feet 9 inches tall, has blonde hair, blue eyes, and weighs about 30 pounds. If you have any information about the whereabouts of the missing girl, the Oslow County Sheriff’s Department urges you to call them immediately at 910-455-3113 or dial 911.

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