Authorities reveal what took 3-year-old Mariah Woods’ life and finally charge a suspect with her murder

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The live-in boyfriend of Mariah Woods’ mother has finally been charged with first-degree murder in connection to her death after authorities determined that the little girl died from chloroform poisoning.

In addition to the murder charge, Adolphus Earl Kimrey, 32, also faces a count of felony child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury/death after initially being charged with several other crimes including concealing an unattended death.

This photo provided by Onslow County Sheriff’s Office shows Earl Kimrey. Authorities have arrested Kimrey in connection with the disappearance of a 3-year-old North Carolina girl. The Onslow County Sheriff’s Office says Kimrey is being held on more than $1 million bond in the Onslow County Detention Center on charges that include concealing a death and obstruction of justice. A statement issued by the Sheriff’s Office says the child, Mariah Woods, is believed to be dead. She has been missing from her home since Monday, Nov. 27, 2017. Authorities are searching for her body. (Onslow County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

The 3-year-old girl’s body was located in a creek in early December after she was reported missing from her North Carolina home five days prior. While Kimrey initially told authorities she had gotten out of bed after her mother was asleep and was sent back to her room, Woods’ father questioned that account. A subsequent autopsy determined that chloroform was her cause of death. The charges came after consulting with the medical examiner who conducted the autopsy.

RELATED: Mariah Woods was sexually abused by her mom’s boyfriend, and her mom knew it, court records allege

“We had to make sure we had the actual cause of death. We had suspicions, but until we get the actual report and have the report in hand, it’s a suspicion,” Onslow County Sheriff Hans Miller said while declining to reveal how investigators believe Kimrey obtained the substance or what his motive was for using it on the girl. “There is much information that is scientific in nature. Obviously, we have to depend on what science tells us. But there is a lot of information that we cannot legally or should not put out. It will come out in court.”

Woods’ mother Kristy, whom police say “has been cooperative with the investigation and continues to cooperate with the detectives as the investigation continues,” has not yet been charged in connection with her daughter’s death. Kimrey, however, is currently being held without bond. Additional charges in the toddler’s passing could be issued as the investigation proceeds.

“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,” 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.”

RELATED: The live-in boyfriend arrested in connection with 3-year-old Mariah Woods’ death made his first appearance in court

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