Father of missing NC girl Mariah Woods questions ex-wife's story

Three-year-old Mariah Woods vanished in the middle of the night from her home in North Carolina. MUST CREDIT Onslow County Sheriff's Office

Three-year-old Mariah Woods vanished in the middle of the night from her home in North Carolina. MUST CREDIT Onslow County Sheriff's Office

Officials said more than 225 state and federal personnel are working on the case, adding that they have conducted almost 100 interviews and followed up on more than 140 leads. It's entirely premature to try to determine what happened, ' Sheriff Miller said.

Kristy Woods, Mariah's mother, then reached out to the public to help her with her daughter's whereabouts.

"Please, bring her back ..."

She says her live-in boyfriend saw the girl about an hour later, when she came out of her room and he told her to go back to bed.

The father of a missing North Carolina toddler is questioning his ex-wife's account of the girl's disappearance as authorities confirm a child seen with a woman in surveillance images they released is not Mariah Woods. An Amber Alert has been issued for the preschooler, who was described as 2-foot-9 and 30 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes.

Scores of officers and K-9 units combed the area, and helicopters and a drone buzzed overhead as the search stretched into a third day.

"It is extraordinarily rare for a stranger abduction, someone to come into a residence simply for the sole motivation of taking an infant child", said retired FBI agent Greg Baker, who is not involved in the investigation into Mariah's disappearance.

Long told the station she is frustrated that the photos "may have gotten the hopes of the family up". "I heard her name over the radio and I was like, 'Do what?" The child is not Mariah Woods and the woman does not have any connection to the ongoing investigation to find Mariah, they said. Dive teams have been searching Southwest Creek in Onslow County, Meador said, which is about 3 miles away from where the family lives.

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Miller said his office is attempting to have an Amber Alert issued for the girl.

Woods also revealed that her daughter has to wear orthopedic leg braces and worries that she won't be able to walk without them.

She called the sheriff's office around 6 a.m. Monday to report her missing.

The girl's two older brothers were in the house when Maria disappeared.

Onslow County Sheriff Hans Miller said search crews are looking for Mariah Woods, who was reported missing sometime last night.

Kristy Woods pleaded for her daughter's safe return Monday.

In a Facebook post, the Onslow County Sheriff's Office said they have sufficient resources for continued searches but did ask callers to contact the Sheriff's Office at 910-989-4070 with any information. The FBI is aiding local officials on the case.

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