The father of 3-year-old Mariah Woods, who was reported missing early Monday, told a reporter that he’s suspicious of his daughter’s disappearance from her Jacksonville, North Carolina, home.
“Someone just walked right up in there, grabbed the 3-year-old out of the bed and she didn’t cry, she didn’t scream?” Alex Woods told local TV station WCTI-12. “Nobody heard anything? Four people in the house, two adults and two kids someone just comes up and snatches the baby and walks out?”
Mariah’s mother Kristy, who shares a mobile home with her live-in boyfriend, reported her daughter missing at about 6:45 a.m. Monday, officials have said. She told officials she last saw the girl when she put her to bed at about 11:30 p.m. the night before.
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“My last memory of her was feeding her and putting her to bed,” Woods told local station Channel 12. “I told her I loved her and she loved me.”
On Wednesday morning, law enforcement officials hoped for a break in the case when they released a surveillance photo and asked for help identifying a woman and child in the photo. But after a few hours, officials learned the pair was unrelated to the investigation.
Onslow County Sheriff Hans Zimmer said the search was still ongoing. Law enforcement officials from 14 agencies, which conducted more than 100 interviews, were working around the clock, he said at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.
“Our goal is to find Mariah and bring her back home. We want to bring her home safely,” he said. “If you have a shed, a barn, a wooded area, take a look and call us immediately if there’s something out of the ordinary.”
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Zimmer added he wanted to hear from anyone who spoke with Mariah’s family on Sunday or Monday as investigators work to develop a timeline.
Law enforcement have not commented on whether anyone is a suspect or a person of interest.
Mariah’s father Alex heard about the news of his daughter when he heard the AMBER Alert announced on the radio. He was shocked to hear his daughter’s name.
“It’s unreal. It’s a nightmare,” he said. “You hear about this stuff all the time but you never think it’s going to happen to you or your kids.”