Maria Mercedes Lara
December 02, 2017 07:25 PM

Investigators have recovered remains that they believe belong to 3-year-old Mariah Woods.

In a statement obtained by PEOPLE, the FBI Charlotte branch confirmed that investigators had discovered remains they believe belong to Mariah — who has been missing since Sunday — in Shelter Creek along Shaw highway in Pender County, North Carolina. However, positive confirmation of the remains still has to be made by the medical examiner’s office.

The news comes nearly one day after it was revealed that Earl Kimrey — the live-in boyfriend of Mariah’s mother, Kristy — had been arrested in connection with the little girl’s disappearance. According to local authorities, Kimrey, 32, was arrested on Friday and charged with concealing of death, obstruction of justice, 2nd degree burglary, felony larceny, and possession of stolen property. He is being held in the Onslow County Detention Center on a $1,010,000 bond. It is not known if Kimrey has entered a plea yet.

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

According to the arrest warrant obtained by PEOPLE, police allege that Kimrey removed Mariah’s body from the scene of her death and concealed her death and body. They also allege in the warrant that Mariah died from “unnatural causes.”

Earl Kimrey
Onslow County Sheriff's Office

Mariah’s mom reported her daughter missing at about 6:45 a.m. Monday. She told officials she last saw the girl when she put her to bed at about 11:30 p.m. the night before.

“My last memory of her was feeding her and putting her to bed,” Kristy told local station Channel 12. “I told her I loved her and she loved me.”

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Mariah’s father Alex heard about the news of his daughter’s disappearance when he heard an AMBER Alert announced on the radio. He was shocked to hear his daughter’s name.

“It’s unreal. It’s a nightmare,” Alex told local TV station WCTI-12 on Tuesday. “You hear about this stuff all the time but you never think it’s going to happen to you or your kids.”

Alex added that he was suspicious of the circumstances around his daughter’s disappearance. “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?” he said. “Nobody heard anything? Four people in the house, two adults and two kids someone just comes up and snatches the baby and walks out?”

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