Mother's boyfriend arrested as missing 3-year-old North Carolina girl believed to be dead

Police in North Carolina arrested a man in connection with the disappearance of 3-year-old Mariah Woods. 

The Onslow County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement Saturday morning that evidence collected during their investigation has led them to believe Mariah is dead.

“At this time, the location of Mariah is unknown,” the statement said. “The searches now will shift to a recovery process.”

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Local police and the FBI detained 32-year-old Earl Kimrey, the live-in boyfriend of Mariah's mother, in connection with the disappearance of the toddler on Friday, WRAL reported.

He faces a number of charges including concealing of death, obstruction of justice, burglary, larceny, and possession of stolen property.

The warrant for his arrest also alleges he "secretly disposed of the dead child's body," according to WRAL.

Authorities issued an Amber Alert for the toddler Monday after she was reported missing by her mother. She said she last saw her late Sunday after putting her to bed and said her boyfriend claimed to have also seen Mariah later that night. She told officials he said the girl woke up and he told her to go back to sleep.

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

Mariah's disappearance prompted a massive search effort with hundreds of volunteers from the local community joining together with law enforcement agencies to find the missing toddler.

Sheriff Hans Miller said during a press conference Friday that he had “a long conversation” with a member of Mariah’s family and that “they are cooperating.”

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