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Posted: November 28, 2017

Mariah Woods: Photos released by FBI of possible missing NC 3-year-old debunked

FBI Involved In Search For Missing North Carolina Girl

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Mariah Woods: Photos released by FBI of possible missing NC 3-year-old debunked
Mariah Woods

By WSOCTV.com

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. —

UPDATE 11/29 10 a.m.: Law enforcement has stepped up the search for a North Carolina girl after she disappeared from her home.

Overnight, the FBI released new surveillance photos they said could be missing Onslow County 3-year-old, Mariah Woods, but those photos appear to be a dead end.

A statewide Amber Alert was issued for Mariah on Monday morning.

The Onslow County Sheriff's Office and the FBI released the surveillance images, which show a little girl walking with a woman Monday around 9:30 a.m. in the Walmart in Morehead City.

Investigators wanted the public's help identifying both of them, and it appeared WCTI has helped do just that.

WCTI spoke exclusively with Jetta Long Wednesday morning. She is a 23-year-old Newport woman who said the surveillance photos show her and her young daughter.

Long told WCTI she does not know the family of the missing girl and that she is frustrated that the photos "may have gotten the hopes of the family up."

Long's daughter was born with a shortened leg, so she understands how she could have been mistaken for Mariah.

Original story: The FBI is now involved in the search for a missing 3-year-old girl in Onslow County, North Carolina.

An Amber Alert was issued Monday for Mariah Kay Woods, who was last seen Sunday night when her mother put her to bed at their home on Dawson Cabin Road in Jacksonville.

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The girl's mother, Kristy Woods, pleaded for her daughter's safe return on Monday night.

"Please, bring her back ... She's my baby, she's my everything,” Woods said at a news conference. “Just to be able to touch her and hold her and not let her go again. I'd give anything."

First responders spent Monday searching by air and on the ground.

“(Officials are) working everything that can be worked to find this little girl,” said Sheriff Hans Miller.

>> Watch the news report here

Four volunteer fire departments, the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office and K-9 units, conducted a search of the wooded area behind the girl’s home as well as surrounding wooded areas, WCTI reported. They also used a helicopter and drones to aid in the search.

“We don’t know what happened. It’s entirely premature to try to determine what happened,” Miller said Monday.

Officials have interviewed both Woods’ mother and her live-in boyfriend and conducted a search of their home and vehicle, WCTI reported.

"I don't believe she would go out by herself, especially in the dark," said the girl’s grandmother, Anne Edwards. “She's a sweet child but she's shy with strangers. So, she wouldn't just go with a stranger."

Edwards said the 3-year-old struggles to get around on her own and wears leg braces for assistance.

"It's really tough because it's just like everybody says, 'I didn't believe this could happen to me,'" she said.

Investigators have asked people in the area to check their yards and sheds.

Woods is described as white and 2 feet 9 inches tall with brown hair and blue eyes. She weighs 30 pounds.

Authorities have not said who may have taken her and where they might be headed.

Anyone with information on Woods’s whereabouts is encouraged to call the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office immediately at (910) 455-3113, or to call 911.


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