Mother's Live-In Boyfriend Arrested In Missing Toddler Case As Search Shifts To 'Recovery Process'

Mariah Woods and Earl Kimrey
Earl Kimrey, the live-in boyfriend of Mariah Woods' mother has been arrested in connection with the 3-year-old's disappearance.(Handout/Onslow County Sheriff's Office)

Mariah Woods was reported missing Monday

The case of a missing girl in North Carolina took a dark turn as police announced the arrest of her mother's live-in boyfriend early Saturday.

Mariah Woods was reported missing from her own bed on Monday by her mother, whose tears were seen nationwide as she pleaded for her 3-year-old's safe return.

But on Friday, police say they determined the girl is dead and arrested 32-year-old Earl Kimrey in connection with her disappearance.

Kimrey has been charged with Concealing of Death, Obstruction of Justice, 2nd Degree Burglary, Felony Larceny and Possession of Stolen Property.

Mariah, whose third birthday came just this past November, was reported missing from her Jacksonville home early Monday by her mother, Christine Woods.

"Please bring her back," Woods told Mariah's potential captors in an interview with local reporters. "I love her. I'd do anything I can, whatever you want. Just bring her home please, safe and sound. She's my baby. She's my everything."

It was an emotional plea that captured a national audience, one that makes the break in the case that much more chilling.

In a brief statement that offered few other details, police said District Attorney Ernie Lee has been consulted on the current charges and additional charges could be pending as the investigation continues.

Kimrey is being held in the Onslow County Detention Center under a $1,010,000 bond.