JACKSONVILLE - FBI officials in Quantico are testing "items of interest" in the alleged abduction of 3-year-old Mariah Woods of Jacksonville.
At a Thursday press conference, FBI officials said that "items of interest" were taken to Quantico for testing that could "lead us to Mariah," but did not elaborate on what the items were, or where they were located.
"Some details have to remain confidential," Sheriff Hans J. Miller said on Thursday. "This is in good hands ... I'm emotional about this. We want to find Mariah and bring her back."
A dive crew was brought in for the second day in a row to investigate a creek near the home.
"Every resource possible" will be provided in the effort to bring Mariah home, FBI officials said Thursday.
During the press conference, FBI and sheriff's office officials said the family "has been cooperating" but would not say if members of the family were suspects in Mariah's disappearance, or if they had hired an attorney.
Investigators are still trying to build a better timeline around the point 3-year-old Mariah Kay Woods went missing from her Jacksonville home Monday and they're expanding their search area. So far the search has been limited to Onslow County, but officials said that search area may be expanded even farther.
With the search entering its fourth day Thursday, officials asked for any information people may have regarding members of Woods' immediate family the day before and the day of her disappearance.
"It is crucial that we have a detailed timeline to help us find Mariah," the Onslow County Sheriff's Office said in a press release Wednesday evening. "We are still asking anyone that came into contact with members of Mariah's immediate family on Sunday, November 26th through Monday, November 27th to contact the Onslow County Sheriff's Office."
FBI and sheriff's office officials would not say whether or not there was a history of issues at the home, including intervention from child protective services.
Woods is described as a white female with brown hair and blue eyes, about 2-foot-9 weighing about 30 pounds.
Woods was allegedly abducted from a home on the 2400 block of Dawson Cabin Road in Jacksonville, according to an Amber Alert issued Monday, when she was reported missing. She was last seen when her mother put her to bed around 11 p.m. Sunday, according to the Charlotte Division of the FBI.
The sheriff's office and the FBI asked residents in Verona and the southwest area of Jacksonville to search their properties - especially outdoor structures such as sheds, barns or cars - for anything "out of the ordinary." They asked residents to call the sheriff's office if they find anything unusual.
When asked if Woods' disappearance was an isolated incident, or if there may be a danger to other area children, Miller said officials think "this is a focused incident."
In three days, the search for Woods covered hundreds of acres of Onslow County by foot, air, and with K9 units, along with a nearby creek and pond.
More than 225 members of 14 local, state, and federal agencies have conducted nearly 100 interviews, and have followed more than 140 leads. Among them are the FBI's Child Abduction Rapid Deployment team and Team Adam from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Officials said on Thursday that their goal is to speak to every person who lives in Mariah's neighborhood.
The child's mother, Kristy Woods, appeared emotional in on-camera interviews Monday.
"This is my world, this is my angel," Kristy Woods told WITN. "She was sent to me for a reason. This is my everything besides my boys, the love that I have for this girl. The bond that I have ... is my life."
Kristy Woods told WCTI on Monday that she has "a lot of thoughts and questions that (are) unanswered."
"I mean, it's just not making sense to me about where she could be at - who she could be with," she said.
But Mariah's biological father, Alex Woods, expressed doubts that his daughter was abducted, according to WCTI.
"Someone just walked right up in there, grabbed the 3-year-old out of the bed and she didn't cry, she didn't scream?" Alex Woods told the New Bern station. "Nobody heard anything? Four people in the house, two adults and two kids someone just comes up and snatches the baby and walks out?"
Alex Woods and his fiance on Wednesday said a lead detective told them they are no longer suspects in the case, according to a NewsChannel 12 report.
FBI Special Agent Jim Melia, who worked with the FBI's Southeast Child Abduction Rapid Deployment team, said that, statistically, if a child is going to be killed following an abduction, 75 percent of them will be killed in the first three hours. An additional 75 percent of the remaining children will be killed within the first 24 hours, and it continues in a series of 75 percentiles out into 72 hours."
Join the search
For those who want to volunteer to help find Mariah on Friday, bring your ID - you'll need it to register.
Volunteers will be searching in rough terrain that includes vines and thorn bushes, officials said, so wear appropriate clothes and bring water and snacks.
No horses or four-wheelers.
Volunteers will be broken up into groups with a team leader and will walk in a straight line no more than 10 feet apart.
Volunteers should be physically able to walk over rough terrain and not tire quickly. Each search could last 4-6 hours.
If you locate an item of interest, stop walking, do not touch anything, and call the team leader over.
Absolutely no photos should be taken by volunteers during the investigation and search.
More specific details will be given to volunteers when they arrive and listed on the Onslow County Sheriff's Facebook page.
Aaron Moody: 919-829-4528, @Aaron—Moody1
Source : https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/crime/items-of-interest-tested-by-fbi-that-could-lead-to-missing-girl/ar-BBG1mCa