ONSLOW COUNTY, NC — Nearly three weeks after three-year-old Mariah Woods’ body was found in a North Carolina creek, her mother’s live-in boyfriend has been charged with her murder, according to authorities.
Earl Kimrey is now facing first-degree murder and felony child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury/death charges in connection with the death of Mariah Woods.
Kimrey was arrested in December.
The arrest warrant for Kimrey stated that he allegedly moved her lifeless body when he knew her death was not from natural causes.
Police had been waiting for autopsy results to determine exactly how Mariah died. On Monday, they announced that an autopsy report found that the toddler died from chloroform toxicity. Sheriff Hans Miller said that police suspect the chloroform was used to incapacitate Mariah, which eventually resulted in her death.
Mariah was reported missing from her Onslow County home on November 27th by Kimrey, according to deputies. Kimrey told investigators that Mariah went missing after her mother, Kristy Woods, went to sleep. He said that he saw the toddler get up, and told her to get back to bed. Kimrey also claimed that he left the home for a short period of time with the door unlocked.
Authorities, friends and family then launched a manhunt to search for Mariah. Several days later, her body was found near a bridge across Holly Shelter Creek in Pender County.
Kimrey was originally charged with obstruction of justice, concealing an unattended death, possession of stolen goods, second-degree burglary, and larceny after breaking and entering. He is being held under no bond on the murder charge.
By CATHERINE TOWNSEND