Federal Bureau of Investigation joins search for missing 3-year-old in North Carolina

Posted December 02, 2017

The FBI said Thursday that it is testing "items of interest" at its lab in Quantico, Virginia. The Onslow County Sheriff's Department is also asking neighbors in the area to check their yards, sheds and other areas for any sign of the missing girl. Woods said he's desperate to find his daughter and his biggest hope is that she will be returned home safely.

"We needed to do something special", said Pastor Cliff Wilson of Folkston Original Free Will Baptist Church. "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".

Law enforcement officials also searched the home and the family's vehicle for evidence. "They are having some rough moments. As a small community that we are, we got to all stick together in this".

"Please, bring her back", said Kristy Woods at a press conference in Jacksonville, North Carolina. The FBI later in the day confirmed that the woman and child in the photo were not connected in the investigation. WCTI spoke with a 23-year-old Newport, North Carolina woman Wednesday who said she is the woman pictured in the surveillance photos.

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During an emotional TV plea for her safe return, Mariah Kay Woods' mother said she found her missing on Monday morning.

In a tearful address to reporters on Monday, the girl's mother seemed to believe someone had abducted her girl.

Woods said he asked his fiance, Heather, to look the information up to make sure what he heard was true.

"Mariah's mother describes her as their "little angel", with a goofy, outgoing and talkative personality".

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"Please, bring her back", Kristy Woods said earlier Tuesday, as reported by CBS affiliate WNCT. The mother said the last time she checked on her sleeping daughter was around 11 p.m. Sunday, but her live-in boyfriend also checked on the toddler around midnight. "Just to be able to touch her and hold her and not let her go again".

Law enforcement have urged anyone to come forward with any information on Mariah, who is about 2 feet and 9 inches tall and weighs 30 pounds. "She's my baby, she's my everything", she said with tears in her eyes. In addition to many state and local resources, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has brought in the Child Abduction Rapid Deployment or CARD team.

The disappearance immediately prompted a statewide Amber Alert and authorities to search wooded areas around where the family lives, including the grounds of Camp Lejeune, the nearby Marine Corps base. A helicopter and drones were used to aide in the search.

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