Man charged with murder in Mariah Woods' death - FOX Carolina 21

Man charged with murder in Mariah Woods' death

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Earl Kimrey (Source: WECT) Earl Kimrey (Source: WECT)
(Source: WITN) (Source: WITN)
Earl Kimrey (Source: Onslow County Sheriff's Office) Earl Kimrey (Source: Onslow County Sheriff's Office)

Earl Kimrey has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with the death of 3-year-old Mariah Woods, the Onslow County Sheriff's Office announced Wednesday morning.

Kimrey, 32, is also facing a charge of felony child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury/death. During his brief court appearance on the new charges Wednesday afternoon, the judged ordered Kimrey to remain in jail under no bond. His next court date is Feb. 14.

Kimrey is the live-in boyfriend of Mariah's mother, Kristy Woods.

"It took a long time to come to this,  but we wanted to make sure that the protocol was properly followed, and that the autopsy report was received from the medical examiner, and sometimes science takes a little bit longer," stated Hans Miller, Onslow County Sheriff. 

An autopsy was performed on Dec. 4 at East Carolina University which provided a preliminary cause of death. Additional tests revealed that Mariah died from chloroform toxicity, according to the sheriff's office.

"We suspect this chemical was used to disable the child, and then it led to her death," said Miller. 

Miller would not elaborate on how Kimrey obtained the chloroform or a motive in the toddler's death. 

Woods was reported missing from her Onslow County home on Dawson Cabin Road on Nov. 27, setting off a massive search for the 3-year-old.

Investigators said new information revealed that Kristy Woods told investigators she put the toddler to bed on November 26th, and Mariah was missing the next morning. 

Kimrey told authorities that Mariah had gotten up during the night but was sent back to bed and that he left the door unlocked when he left the home for a short period that night.

Her body was found in Shelter Creek along Shaw Highway in Pender County on Dec. 2.

"Kristy Woods has been cooperative with the investigation and continues to cooperate with the detectives as the investigation continues," the sheriff's office said in a news release on Facebook. "These additional charges do not mean the investigation is concluded but will continue until all leads and information are thoroughly evaluated."

Kimrey was initially arrested on Dec. 2 and charged with concealing of death, obstruction of justice, second-degree burglary, felony larceny and possession of stolen property.

He has remained in jail under a $1 million bond.

"The death of a child is always a sobering reminder of how fragile life is. When the community is so deeply affected by such a horrific crime it is sometimes difficult to not allow our emotions to influence the decisions that we make," said Sheriff Hans Miller. "However, the best way to honor Mariah is to ensure a fair and thorough investigation, which will lead to a successful prosecution. We must remember that through these moments, together, as a community we can ensure that justice will be delivered for Mariah."

Copyright 2018 WECT. All rights reserved. 

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