Body believed to be missing North Carolina girl found after arrest

Earl Kimrey makes his first court appearance Monday morning

Authorities in North Carolina have arrested a man in connection with the disappearance of a young girl and said they are determined to find the child's body.

Earl Kimrey, the live-in boyfriend of Mariah Woods' mother, was arrested on Friday after the long search concluded for the missing three-year-old toddler in Onslow County.

Sheriff Hans Miller said investigators recovered a body around 5:30 p.m. Saturday in Shelter Creek along Shaw Highway in Pender County.

Kimrey is being charged with concealing her death but more charges could be coming. "The whole community is really coming together".

"Just full of life bright little girl, kind of like my little daughter when she was that age".

As Kimrey sits in jail, the community is still coping with the loss of Mariah Woods. People are traveling near and far, some leaving notes, others stuffed animals and balloons.

Kiera Ezel said, "I was sad for her....i wanted to bring her two gifts". "I told her I loved her and she loved me". "Something so tragic has impacted our own children that are still here with us". "This is my world, this is my angel", she said.

Additional resources were allocated to help conduct interviews and searches for the little girl, including boats from the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries as well as police canines and horses from neighboring agencies, Miller said. "Whoever is involved in the crime, whoever did this to her, justice needs to be served for them, for her, so that she can rest peacefully".

Authorities said further charges are possible.

Kristy also made an emotional plea for her daughter's safe return.

Federal Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Shelley Lynch said a dive team discovered the girl's remains alongside Shaw Highway in rural Pender County near Shelter Creek, a tributary of the Northeast Cape Fear River.

"It does not appear that they are related to this case, but they will be collected and turned over to investigative teams for further review so that we are 100 percent certain", he added.

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