Mariah Woods' mother's boyfriend charged with murdering 3-year-old girl

The boyfriend of a mother whose 3-year-old daughter was found dead in December was charged Wednesday with first-degree murder in connection with her death.

Adolphus Earl Kimrey, 32, also faced “a charge of felony child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury/death,” Live 5 News reported.

Mariah Woods was found dead on Dec. 2, after being reported missing from her Jacksonville, N.C., home five days earlier. Her mother, Kristy Woods, said she last saw her daughter when she put her to bed.

Kimrey initially told authorities that Mariah got up after Woods was asleep and was sent back to bed, Live 5 reported. Kimrey also reportedly said he left the door unlocked when he left the home for a short period of time.

mariah woods

Mariah Woods was reported missing on November 27, 2017.  (AP)

Her disappearance led to an Amber Alert.

Mariah’s father, Alex Woods, questioned his ex-wife’s story. He was involved in a custody dispute with Kristy Woods and claimed he had not seen Mariah in about a year.


Mariah’s remains were ultimately found in a creek and an autopsy report found the little girl’s cause of death was due to chloroform, a general anesthetic, ABC 13 reported. Officials said it did not appear the little girl suffered from any trauma before her death.

Kimrey was apprehended on Dec. 1. Court documents stated Kimrey allegedly sexually abused Mariah Woods and her two younger brothers. He was also accused of hitting the boys with a belt. Kristy Woods allegedly knew about the alleged abuse and Kimrey’s drug use, court documents stated. The mother has not been charged in connection with her daughter’s death.

"Kristy Woods has been cooperative with the investigation and continues to cooperate with the detectives as the investigation continues," the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. "These additional charges do not mean the investigation is concluded but will continue until all leads and information are thoroughly evaluated."


Kimrey was being held in the Onslow County Detention Center in Jacksonville without bond.

“The death of a child is always a sobering reminder of how fragile life is. When the community is so deeply affected by such a horrific crime it is sometimes difficult to not allow our emotions to influence the decisions that we make," Sheriff Hans Miller said. "However, the best way to honor Mariah is to ensure a fair and thorough investigation, which will lead to a successful prosecution. We must remember that through these moments, together, as a community we can ensure that justice will be delivered for Mariah."

Miller said more charges in connection with Mariah’s death were possible. 

Fox News' Katherine Lam and the Associated Press contributed to this report.