JACKSONVILLE, N.C.-Frustrated but hopeful are the two words best to describe the emotions of the Jacksonville community. The search ended Thursday night at the bridge above South West Creek. Although the search came to an end, there are several community members looking for a way to help.
Nathan Wheeler, who is a concerned father said, “I pray that she comes home safe and whoever is responsible for this gets justice served to them.”
The fourth day of the search for Mariah Woods leaves investigators looking for answers. Dive teams searched waterways and one of the biggest efforts Thursday night was off Highway 17 in Jacksonville. As hundreds of investigators work against the clock, there’s a community behind them.
“I’ve lived here for about five years, and I’ve never seen the community come together like this,” said Wheeler.
Nathan Wheeler and his seven-year-old son Sabe Garcia are looking to help, and they are using doughnuts as a sign of support.
Seven-year-old Garcia said, “We are passing out to all the police and sheriffs so they can have their dinner.”
Garcia is a Cub Scout and missed his meeting Thursday night to pass out the sweet treats.
Wheeler adds, “We just couldn’t stand by and we wanted to help. We’re doing the best we can just by offering something to people that are helping.”
Wheeler says Sabe is struggling with the news of Mariah because he has a three-year-old sister.
“We have to explain to them that the person who took them was a bad person and it wasn’t the girl’s fault.”
Sabe says he wanted to help because of the service of others.
“…because that makes you a good person and you are protecting the community.”
For this father and son, there is a bigger message.
“There are still good people in this world despite a three-year-old girl going missing.”
Investigators are still making a plea to anyone who came in contact with the immediate family Sunday or Monday to contact them immediately.