Sheriff: Search underway for missing 3-year-old girl in Jacksonville

Mariah Woods. Submitted

Officials said Mariah Kay Woods was last seen at 2405-7 Dawson Cabin Road in Jacksonville.

The FBI released images Wednesday morning from a Walmart in Morehead City, North Carolina, that may show a missing 3-year-old girl at the center of a statewide Amber Alert.

Police have checked with the girl's biological father, and confirmed he does not have her.

The photo marked a rare window of hope in a search that has so far been short on new information.

As of Tuesday morning, FBI, NCIS, Onslow County Sheriff's Department, and military police were all working on the case.

"We don't know what happened", Onslow County Sheriff Hans Miller told local station Channel 12. So authorities are continuing to ask for the public's assistance in finding the little girl.

On Monday, crews spent all day searching the area and on Tuesday resumed their search with additional police units and assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Authorities said they have been using all means necessary to find Mariah including ground searches assist by a helicopter. "I'd give anything", Ms Woods said through tears.

"She's a sweet youngster, however she is modest with outsiders, so she wouldn't simply run with a more odd", Edwards said.

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She says the last time she saw her daughter was around 11 p.m. Sunday when she went to check on her.

Family members said there was no sign of forced entry or anything wrong with Mariah's room.

The child is not Mariah Woods and the woman does not have any connection to the ongoing investigation to find Mariah, they said.

Mariah's grandmother said due to her granddaughter's walking issues, she can't imagine her wandering off.

Family companion Anne Edwards revealed to NBC offshoot WRAL that it would be odd for Mariah to go out so effectively. "If you have any information to identify the adult and child in this image, please call the Onslow County Sheriff's Office at 910-455-3113".

The girl's two older brothers made it to school safely.

Mariah has been missing since Sunday night.

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