Sheriff: Search underway for missing 3-year-old girl in Jacksonville

Mariah Woods

Mariah Woods National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

Officials with the Onslow County Sheriff's Office said in a statement that Woods reported her daughter missing about 6 a.m. Monday and asked anyone with information to contact authorities.

Overnight Wednesday - The FBI and Onslow County Sheriff's Office release photos from a Morehead City Walmart of an adult and child asking for help in determining whether the child is Mariah. The girl's home is in the southeastern part of the state, just west of Jacksonville and Marine Corps Air Station New River.

A search in a wooded area behind the girl's home as well as the surrounding woods by four volunteer fire departments, the Onslow County Sheriff's Department and K9 unites came up empty, WCTI reported. "She's my baby, she's my everything", said the child's mother, Kristy Woods, in a press conference.

Regarding citizen search parties, an Federal Bureau of Investigation spokesperson said on Wednesday night that plans are being made for a volunteer search. The FBI joined the search for the girl Tuesday. Base officials say almost 100 Marines from various units across Camp Lejeune and New River are helping search for the missing girl.

"This is my world, this is my angel", Woods said. She called him back and said it was, so he called authorities. Jetta Long said she doesn't know Mariah's family, but said she is frustrated that the surveillance photos "may have gotten the hopes of the family up".

Mariah's mother, Kristy Woods, earlier this week implored whoever had her daughter to please bring the young girl home.

Pastor Cliff Wilson says, "We wanted to give a positive influence to the family tonight". Onslow County Sheriff Hans Miller hasn't said how he believes the child went missing, but said investigators aren't ruling out any possibilities, including that she was abducted or wandered off.

The child uses orthopedic braces on her feet to walk, her grandmother Melissa Hunter told reporters.

"If somebody has her please, you now, bring her back, you know". They're requesting people aid in the search for Mariah by simply checking their properties. Woods said he cooperated and gave as much information as he could.

Several agencies are working together in an effort to bring Mariah home.

Suspected serial killer Howell Emanuel Donaldson III, 24, made his initial court appearance Thursday on charges of first-degree murder.

Information can also be anonymously texted via Text-A-Tip by typing TIP4CSJAX and your message to 274637 (CRIMES).

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