One year later, Mariah Woods’ memory remains

Local

One year ago, three-year-old Mariah Woods went missing from her Onslow County home.

The case captivated the nation, and more than 700 volunteers searched for the missing three-year-old.

On December 2, authorities held a news conference to announce the discovery of a body, who they believed to be Mariah, in a Pender County creek.

A makeshift memorial was set up for Mariah on December 3.

On December 5, authorities confirmed the body was Mariah’s.

On January 24, authorities charged her mother’s boyfriend, Earl Kimrey, with her murder.

Woods went missing from her house on Dawson Cabin Road, where a new little girl and her family now call home.

Kallie Blanchard moved into the home about a month ago, aware of the Mariah Woods case via social media. Her Sampson County home had been flooded out and the Dawson Cabin home was all she could find available.

“I was kind of shocked,” said Blanchard. “The landlord did let us know what happened here. He literally teared up as he was talking about her.”

Kallie lives in the house with her daughter, 4-year-old Jayla, who is the same age Mariah would have been were she still alive. 

“My daughter, she knows what passed away means, so we just explain to her that (Mariah) is in heaven with God,” said Blanchard. 

Down the road, a memorial still stands for the little girl. One of the contributions to the memorial is a newspaper from the day the DA sought the death penalty against Earl Kimrey, Mariah’s mother’s live-in boyfriend.

He’s charged with Mariah’s death.

“One of the best gifts she will ever be given is justice for her murder,” said Angela Wiles, an Onslow County mother who set up the memorial. 

Blanchard said Woods’ memory lives on at  Dawson Cabin Road one year later.

“I think about her a lot being in this house,” said Blanchard. “She ate here, she sat here, her room was here. She was young, innocent and she should be remembered.”

Onslow County Sheriff Hans Miller said he is proud that the community remembers what happened and how they are standing together.

On December 9, National Child Loss Day, people will gather at the memorial on Dawson Cabin Road for a vigil to honor Mariah.

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