A community is in mourning after a beautiful three-year-old girl was found dead in North Carolina.
Little Mariah Woods lifeless body was found in a creek in a neighboring county.
Onslow County Hans Miller said dive teams found the toddler at approximately 5.30pm on Saturday.
FBI spokeswoman Shelley Lynch said in a statement the body was located in Holly Shelter Creek -about 25 miles from Mariah Woods’ home in Jacksonville.
The medical examiner still needs to identify the body, but investigators are confident it is Mariah, Lynch said.
Deputies have charged 32-year-old Earl Kimrey in the death.
Kimrey is the live-in boyfriend of Mariah’s mother Kristy. He was arrested in the early hours of Saturday morning.
Arrest warrants say Kimrey moved Mariah’s body from where she died, knowing her death was not natural.
They haven’t determined how the little girl was killed. On Saturday, Kimrey was brought before a magistrate.
He was charged with concealing a death, obstruction of justice, burglary, larceny and possession of stolen property.
He is now being held in county jail on a bond of $1,010,000.
‘It was too late to save Mariah the moment the 911 call came in,’ FBI agent Stanley Meador said of the call the girl’s mother made Monday to report her missing.
‘The arrest warrants are public record and the records speaks for themselves. We will not discuss any details related to the homicide investigation.’
One arrest warrant also charges Kimrey with larceny, breaking and entering and possession of stolen goods, according to News Channel 12.
Kimrey is accused of stealing two dressers after breaking into a home in Jacksonville between 11pm on Sunday and 3.30am on Monday.
He has a long criminal history which includes charges for larceny, assault, threats to government and being drunk and disorderly.
The charges date back to 2002. They stretch over several counties and two states.
Mariah had been missing since 6am on Monday.
Mariah’s mother Kristy Woods and Kimrey told police he was the last to have seen her at around midnight on Sunday.
They said he told her to go back to bed and that when they went to her bedroom the next day, she was gone.
But Mariah’s biological father – Alex Woods – did not believe Kimrey’s story that Mariah was abducted by a stranger.
Woods, admits he had not seen his daughter for around a year. He claimed to have visitation rights, and had been trying to get Mariah out of the home but couldn’t afford a lawyer.
‘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 said.
‘Nobody heard anything? Four people in the house, two adults and two kids, someone just comes up and snatches the baby and walks out?’, he added.
After receiving abuse online, Kristy disabled her Facebook account.
She had posted a missing person’s appeal for her daughter and was adamant Mariah was taken by a stranger.
In a tearful television appearance on Tuesday, she said: ‘Please, bring her back.
‘I love her. I’ll do anything that I can, whatever you want.
‘Please just bring her back safe and sound – she’s my baby, she’s my everything.’