N.C. Man Killed Girlfriend's Daughter, 3, with Chloroform in Attempt to Get Her to Sleep

Mariah Woods's tiny body was found in a creek, wrapped in plastic bags that were stuffed inside a couch cushion cover along with a piece of cement

Mariah Woods.

A North Carolina man who killed his then-girlfriend's 3-year-old daughter and called police to report the child's disappearance has pleaded guilty to killing her.

On Monday in Onslow County Superior Court, Adolphus Earl Kimrey II pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and felony child abuse inflicting serious bodily injury in the 2017 slaying of Mariah Woods, according to the Onslow County Superior Court Clerk.

Kimrey entered the guilty plea in exchange for a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

He faced the death penalty if he had gone to trial and was convicted of killing her, WECT reports.

Adolphus Earl Kimrey II

The toddler was reported missing from her home on Nov. 27, 2017.

Six days later, her tiny body was found inside three plastic trash bags that were stuffed inside a plaid couch cushion cover with a piece of cement and then tossed into a creek.

"My client accepts full responsibility for what happened to Mariah," Kimrey's attorney, Walter Paramore, said Monday in court about his client, WRAL reports.

Paramore also said Kimrey "was consumed and dominated by need for drugs, his mind and brain significantly impaired," WRAL reports. "He spent $60 to $100 a day on drugs."

Kimrey, he said, "has wept about her. He cared for her, and he panicked."

An autopsy and additional testing found that Mariah died of chloroform toxicity, the Onslow County Sheriff's Office announced on January 24, 2018.

Mariah's mother, Kristy Woods, who was dating Kimrey at the time of the child's death, said in court Monday that her daughter "was the light of everybody's life," WRAL reports. "She had a smile and a laugh that could brighten anyone's day.

On the morning Mariah was reported missing, Woods told police she put her daughter to bed on the evening of Nov. 26, 2017. The next morning, Mariah was gone.

Kimrey, Woods' live-in boyfriend, told police the toddler had woken up during the night but went back to bed, WRAL reported at the time.

In a 911 call on the morning of Nov. 27, 2017, Kimrey could be heard saying "Our two-year-old is nowhere to be found," WRAL reports. "We've looked everywhere in our house and in our yard and our little girl, she's missing."

He told the dispatcher he found the "pink footie pajamas" Mariah was wearing when she went to bed were laying on the floor.

"We've looked through the house two or three times," he told the dispatcher, WRAL reports. "Here in the yard...it's not like her to go outside at all. Not in the middle of the night or in the morning by herself."

Authorities launched a massive search for Mariah.

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

Kimrey was arrested on Dec. 1, 2017. He was initially charged with concealing a death, obstruction of justice, second-degree burglary, felony larceny and possession of stolen property.

Mariah's remains were found by a dive team on Dec. 2, 2017, in a creek in nearby Pender County, N.C.

A witness told police about seeing Kimrey "placing an object in the van 'bigger than a book bag' and then leaving the residence" the night before Mariah was reported missing, according to search warrants obtained by WITN.

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On Jan. 24, 2018, Kimrey was formally charged with with first-degree murder and felony intentional child abuse.

According to the arrest warrant, Kimrey "intentionally" inflicted serious bodily injury on Mariah using chloroform, The Jacksonville Daily News reports.

On Monday in court, District Attorney Ernie Lee said that before Mariah's murder, Kimrey bought bleach, nail polish remover, a headlamp and zip ties at a local Family Dollar store, The Jacksonville Daily News reports.

Kimrey, he said, used the bleach and nail polish remover to make the chloroform. Kimrey was addicted to methamphetamine at the time of Mariah's murder.

Kimrey, he said, had told two fellow inmates he given Mariah too much chloroform because he wanted her to go to sleep while he got high, Lee said, The Jacksonville Daily News reports.

Kimrey's attorney did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

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