The body of a missing toddler in North Carolina was found hours after her mother's live-in boyfriend was charged with hiding her body.
Mariah Woods' body was recovered from the Pender County Creek, 25 miles from her home on Saturday (2 December), Onslow County sheriff Hans Miller said.
The three-year-old was reported missing by her mother, Kristy Woods, on Monday (27 November). According to KSAT, Kristy Woods claimed she last saw her toddler when she put her to bed on the night of Sunday (26 November).
Authorities then issued an Amber Alert. According to CNN affiliate WNCN, more than 700 volunteers went in search of the missing girl around a creek a few miles from her home.
Kristy also made an emotional plea for her daughter's safe return. "I'll do anything that I can, whatever you want," she said. "Just bring her home, please, safe and sound. She's my baby. She's my everything".
Police determined on Friday (1 December) that the girl had died, KSAT reported. The following day, police arrested 32-year-old Earl Kimrey, Kristy's boyfriend, in connection with the child's disappearance.
According to the arrest warrant, Mariah's body was moved from where she died and Kimrey allegedly knew she had not died of natural causes. The warrant did not specify how the girl was killed.
Kimrey allegedly "failed to notify a law enforcement authority of the death of Mariah Woods, and secretly disposed of the dead child's body," the warrant said.
"It was too late to save Mariah the moment the 911 call came in," FBI agent Stanley Meador. "The arrest warrants are public record and the records speaks for themselves. We will not discuss any details related to the homicide investigation."
Kimrey was charged with concealing a death, obstruction of justice, second-degree burglary, felony larceny and possession of stolen property. Additional charges are pending, according to KSAT. Kimrey is being held on $1,010,000 bond at the Onslow County Detention Center, CNN reported.