32-year old Earl Kimrey, the boyfriend of the child's mother, has been arrested and charged with concealing death, obstruction of justice, and other charges.
Investigators now believe that Mariah Woods, who went missing from her home Monday, is dead, according to a post from the Onslow County Sheriff's Office Facebook page.
Saturday afternoon, officials said they were still searching for Mariah Woods, but believed she was dead.
Authorities said they have not yet located Mariah's body, and the missing persons search that included Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and K-9 units will now shift to a recovery effort. He was being held in the Onslow County Detention Center under a $1 million bond, a news release stated.
Mariah's family has said that the 3-year-old struggles to get around on her own and wears leg braces for assistance.
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Onslow County Sheriff Hans Miller said at a news conference that deputies are just as determined to bring the girl home as they were when it was still possible she was alive.
The arrest warrant issued for Kimrey said he obstructed justice by "removing Mariah Woods' body from the scene of her death and did hide Mariah Woods' death and body, knowing that Mariah Woods died from unnatural causes". Deputies say her body has not been found.
Authorities have been scanning the area and searching for Woods since her disappearance. The warrant also says that Kimrey "secretly disposed of the dead child's body". They added that additional charges could be filed against Kimrey. "Some people may not have been home when we tried to talk to them, we will continue to contact everyone to determine if they have any information that can help us find Mariah".
The statement did not indicate whether Kimrey had a lawyer or if anyone else could also be charged. "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?" Once they realized she was missing, the couple said they called authorities.
Mariah's father, who has been involved in a custody dispute with her mother, has criticized her version of events.