ONSLOW COUNTY, N.C. – As the search for 3-year-old Mariah Woods continues, authorities are calling for an expanded community search.
Onslow County Sheriff Hans Miller said in a news conference Thursday that volunteers are welcome to help them look for the child who has been missing since Sunday night. They are planning to meet Friday at Dawson Community Church located at 2311 Dawson Cabin Road between 8-9 a.m.
Anyone who would like to volunteer is asked to bring an ID to register and wear appropriate clothing for walking through bushes and thorns. It is advised to also bring snacks and water as the search could last for several hours on foot. Additional details about the search can be found on the sheriff's office Facebook page.
Highway 17 North in Jacksonville was down to one lane on Thursday afternoon, as authorities along with the Onslow County Dive Team search the water beneath a bridge for a missing 3-year-old girl.
The Onslow County sheriff is asking local residents who want to help in the search for a missing 3-year-old girl to check their own property including abandoned cars and buildings.
Onslow County Sheriff Hans Miller said Wednesday at a news briefing that property owners should look around their homes for any clues that might help find Mariah Woods.
Miller said people should search sheds, barns and wooded areas and call law enforcement if they see something out of the ordinary.
A statewide Amber Alert was issued for the girl after she was reported missing from her home outside of Jacksonville on Monday. The FBI joined local law enforcement in the search for the girl on Tuesday.
Mariah’s mother, Kristy Woods, says she last saw Mariah around 11 p.m. Sunday when she checked on her. She said her boyfriend saw the toddler around midnight when Mariah got up and he told her to go back to bed.
Once they realized she was missing, the couple reported Mariah missing around 6 a.m. Monday, prompting the statewide Amber alert.
Officials say Mariah Woods is about 2 feet 9 inches tall. She’s about 30 pounds with blue eyes and brown hair.
Family members say she normally wears orthopedic braces so she could be walking with a limp.
So far, authorities said they've already searched hundreds of acres by foot, air and with K9s. To date, authorities they have followed up on more than 140 leads.
Authorities said they've interviewed Woods' family members, but want to know if you have had contact with them. If so, call the sheriff's office at (910) 455-3113.