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The 32-year-old man under arrest in relation to the death of North Carolina 3-year-old Mariah Woods made his first appearance in court on Monday, two days after being charged.


People filled the courtroom on Monday to witness Earl Kimrey’s first public appearance since being arrested and charged, but they had to wait some time for unrelated traffic cases to be handled.

Kimrey was eventually escorted into the room by police for a brief hearing. Kimrey was asked if he had questions before his Dec. 18 court date, WTVD reported, and the judge confirmed that he would be held at the Onslow County Detention Center until then.

The bond has been set at $1,010,000.

Mariah Woods had been missing since Saturday, two days after Thanksgiving, and now, Earl Kimrey, the boyfriend of the woman who desperately pleaded on television for her child’s safe return, is now at the center of it all.

RELATED: Police arrest boyfriend of missing North Carolina girl’s mother

Authorities said over the weekend that they recovered a body in a creek in a neighboring county. They said the body is the missing 3-year-old girl’s.

Onslow County Sheriff Hans Miller said dive teams found Mariah Miller’s body around 5:30 p.m. Saturday.

FBI spokeswoman Shelley Lynch said in a statement the body was in a Pender County creek about 25 miles (40 kilometers) from Mariah Woods’ home in Jacksonville.

Kimrey has been charged with concealing a death. Arrest warrants say Kimrey moved Mariah’s body from where she died, knowing her death was not natural. They haven’t said how they think the girl was killed.

The warrant for his arrest alleged that he “remov[ed] Mariah Woods’ body from the scene of her death and did conceal Mariah Woods’ death and body, knowing that Mariah Woods died from unnatural causes. The defendant acted with deceit and intent to fraud.”

It added that he “secretly disposed of the dead child’s body.”

Kimrey was living with the girl’s mother, Kristy Woods.

Woods tearfully appeared on the news after her daughter disappeared and begged for her safe return.

Previously, Rare reported that Woods last saw her daughter at about 11 p.m. that Sunday when she checked on her, and that her boyfriend saw the child around midnight when she got up, and he told her to go back to bed.

“This is my world. This is my angel,” she said. “She was sent to me for a reason. This is my everything besides my boys, the love that I have for this girl.”

Mariah Woods’ biological father Alex Woods, upon hearing his daughter’s name in an AMBER Alert, expressed his shock last week on WCTI, calling his child’s disappearance a “nightmare.”

“It’s unreal. It’s a nightmare” he said. “You hear about this stuff all the time but you never think it’s going to happen to you or your kids.”

As PEOPLE noted, Alex Woods thought it was suspicious that someone could have “walked right up in there, grabbed the 3-year-old out of the bed and she didn’t cry, she didn’t scream?”

RELATED: Police arrest boyfriend of missing North Carolina girl’s mother

“Nobody heard anything? Four people in the house, two adults and two kids someone just comes up and snatches the baby and walks out?” he asked.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Matt Naham About the author:
Matt Naham is the Weekend Editor  for Rare. Follow him on Twitter @matt_naham.
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