(JACKSONVILLE, N.C.) — Authorities searching for a missing toddler in North Carolina are asking residents to search their properties for anything “out of the ordinary” in the hope that someone will come forward with information that leads them to the little girl.
Onslow County Sheriff Hans Miller urged the public to comb through their properties meticulously for “any clues,” including wooded areas or “outbuildings” such as sheds or barns.
“The citizens know what fits and what doesn’t fit,” he said in a press conference Wednesday. “No piece of information is too small or insignificant.”
Three-year-old Mariah Woods went missing from her Jacksonville, North Carolina, home after her mother put her to bed Sunday night, Mariah’s mother, Kristy Woods, said, according to North Carolina ABC affiliate WCTI. Authorities would not confirm those details in order to protect the integrity of the investigation, they said during a press conference Tuesday.
Authorities are also asking that anyone who mas spoken to Mariah’s immediate family on Sunday or Monday to contact the sheriff’s office. Investigators have already conducted more than 100 interviews and followed about 140 leads since Mariah was reported missing Monday morning, Miller said.
Investigators from local, state and federal agencies are currently in the third day of their quest to find Mariah, searching hundreds of acres in Onslow County by foot and in the air, Miller said.
Dive teams were seen searching a body of water near the trailer where Mariah’s family lives.
“Right now, more than 225 investigators, agents and other law enforcement employees are working around the clock with one goal in mind,” Miller said. “That goal is to find Mariah and bring her back home … and we want to bring her back home safely.”
On Tuesday night, police released surveillance video taken at a North Carolina Walmart Monday morning that shows the image of a woman and a child. Miller said Wednesday afternoon that the pair are not related to the investigation.
Miller believes that Mariah’s disappearance is an isolated incident.
“We do not believe there is a need to put a danger warning out at this point,” Miller said. “We believe it was focused.”
Investigators have interviewed Kristy Woods, as well as her live-in boyfriend, WCTI reported. In an emotional plea, Kristy Woods begged for whoever took her “baby” to “please, bring her back.”
“She’s my everything,” she said. “Just to be able to touch her and hold her and not let her go again, I’d give anything.”
Mariah’s biological father expressed skepticism about his daughter’s disappearance when speaking to WCTI.
“Four people in the house, two adults and two kids. Somebody just comes up and snatches a baby and walks out?” he asked.
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