Officials searching for a missing 3-year-old girl are asking residents in the areas surrounding Jacksonville, N.C., to search their own properties.
The Onslow County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI asked residents in Verona, N.C., and the southwest area of Jacksonville to search their properties – especially outdoor structures such as sheds or barns – for anything “out of the ordinary.” They asked residents to call the sheriff’s office if they find anything unusual.
Mariah Kay Woods, 3, of Jacksonville, was reported abducted, according to an Amber Alert issued on Monday.
More than 14 local, state and federal agencies had assisted in Woods’ search by Wednesday afternoon, Sheriff Hans J. Miller said at a news conference.
Officials conducted more than 100 interviews and have followed more than 140 leads, mostly generated by the community, Miller said. One of those led to the circulation of surveillance photos released by the FBI on Wednesday morning of a woman holding a child in a Morehead City Walmart on Monday. The FBI later in the day confirmed that the woman and child in the photo were not connected in the investigation.
When asked if Woods’ disappearance was an isolated incident, or if there may be a danger to other area children, Miller said officials think “this is a focused incident.”
By the third day of the investigation, officials had searched under Woods’ mobile home, a nearby creek, pond and wooded area, Miller said.
The FBI has joined the search, including the Child Abduction Rapid Deployment team.
Woods was last seen when her mother put her to bed at about 11 p.m. Sunday, according to the Charlotte Division of the FBI. She was missing the next morning.
Officials have interviewed Woods’ mother and her boyfriend.
Woods is a 3-year-old white female, about 2 feet 9 inches tall, weighing about 30 pounds. She has brown hair and blue eyes.
She was reported missing from a home on the 2400 block of Dawson Cabin Road in Jacksonville, according to the FBI.
“No piece of information is too small,” the sheriff’s office said, adding that anyone who has had any contact with the family since her disappearance is asked to call the sheriff’s office or the FBI.
The FBI also released a missing poster that will be featured on all FBI social media sites.
Anyone with information about the abduction is asked to call the Onslow County Sheriff at 910-455-3113, the FBI’s Charlotte field office at 704-672-6100 or call 911.