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A search is underway for a missing 3-year-old girl, Mariah Woods, in Jacksonville.

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WWAY/WNCN/WNCT) — A volunteer search for Mariah Woods will be held on Friday, Onslow County Sheriff Hans Miller said at a news conference Thursday afternoon.

Miller asked volunteers to meet at Dawson Community Church at 2311 Dawson Cabin Road in between 8 and 9 a.m. Volunteers must bring an ID to register.

The search could last four to six hours, Miller said.

FBI supervisor Stanley Meador said items of interest have been taken to Quantico for analysis.

The search has been contained to Onslow County, Meador said.

He specifically mentioned the Verona and Southwest areas.

Earlier in the day, a dive team was called in to search a creek off Highway 17 in Jacksonville.

Meador would not say if searching the creek was due to a tip or just a part of the general search.

New technology and tactics have also been implemented as part of the search’s fourth day.

As far as technology, authorities placed scanners, which can take photos and detect footprints, in the yard of Mariah Woods’ hom

Law enforcement from Wilmington and New Hanover County were also checking the area on horseback, which they said allowed for greater visibility and let them access places they could not reach otherwise.

At a Wednesday news conference, authorities asked community members to search wooded areas, barns, and sheds for the girl.

They also asked anyone who was in contact with Mariah’s family Sunday or Monday to call law enforcement.

A dive team was also called in Wednesday afternoon to search a pond off High Hill Road in Jacksonville.

The road was blocked off from Dawson Cabin Road to Verona Road.

Authorities have been going door to door talking to neighbors about Mariah.

The 3-year-old was reported missing from her home on Dawson Cabin Road on Monday.

Throughout the course of the search, investigators have used everything from drones, helicopters, and K9 dogs in the attempt to find the Mariah.

“Every second counts when a child is missing, especially after the cold night we just had,” said Hans Miller, Onslow County Sheriff. “A detailed timeline is crucial in helping us find this little girl.”

Family members say Mariah shouldn’t have been able to get far because of an orthopedic leg problem, which causes her to wobble while walking.

Tommy Cloyd, an independent living coordinator with the Disability Advocates & Resource Center, said going as long as she has without any help, especially in the cold, is dangerous.

“She wouldn’t have her support, her braces and things of that nature,” said Cloyd. “I think after 24 hours, it would kind of start to get to her. I don’t know if she takes medication of any kind, but I am sure by this point, she needs something.”

Kristy Woods, Mariah’s mother, is pleading for her daughter to be returned safely.

“‘I’ll do anything that I can, whatever you want,” said Woods. “Just bring her home please safe and sound. She’s my baby. She’s my everything.”

Woods said she woke up Monday morning and noticed her daughter was missing from her bedroom.

Woods said the last time she saw her daughter was around 11:00 p.m. Sunday when she went to check on her.

Family members said there was no sign of forced entry or anything wrong with Mariah’s room but did mention the back door was unlocked.

Once they realized Mariah was missing, Woods and her live-in boyfriend called authorities.

Mariah’s grandmother said due to her grandaughter’s walking issues, she can’t imagine her wandering off.

The family also said Mariah would not have left with a stranger.

The Onslow County Sheriff’s Office checked with Mariah’s biological father but said he does not have the girl.

The girl’s two older brothers were in the house when Mariah disappeared but are both safe.

Mariah’s mother describes her as their “little angel,” with a goofy, outgoing and talkative personality.”

Stick with WWAY online and on-air as we bring you the latest developments on this story.

 

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Comment on this Story

  • BMass

    Locking one door could have been the difference…

    • Christopher Meyers

      Having judgement decent enough to avoid maintaining a convicted criminal for a boyfriend and allow him around her baby would work even better!

  • 9rt5zsdzip

    Why hasn’t the mother made a statement yet?

    • ImOpining

      Because she knows she’s the next to be arrested.

  • cheese101

    Cheese101 3 days ago
    Removed
    Just my own opinion but taking bets that moms boyfriend is behind this.

    WWAY removed the above comment yet I was right.

  • Diana Watkins

    Pray for a safe return for this little angel

    • 9rt5zsdzip

      Didn’t work. Makes me question the validity of p r a y e r.

      • Christopher Meyers

        You could use a tune-up in your “faith” category. The validity of prayer is as prevalent as the validity of our creator.
        We didn’t just spontaneously “poof” into existence by the sweep of a magic wand you know.

      • 9rt5zsdzip

        “We didn’t just spontaneously “poof” into existence by the sweep of a magic wand you know”. Thanks for helping to make my point that there IS NO GOD.

  • Maggie Baker

    Are volunteers still needed, or did you need to sign up prior to today?

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