Law enforcement speak again, continue work in finding Mariah Woods
JACKSONVILLE, Onslow County - Onslow County Sheriff Hans Miller, FBI and NCIS held a joint press conference at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday to discuss their ongoing investigation into the disappearance of 3-year-old Mariah Woods.
This is the third day of an "intensive search" for the cooperating agencies. Officials have combed through hundreds of acres by foot, air and with K-9 units, Sheriff Miller said.
The investigation has the support of more than 14 agencies, Sheriff Miller said. Officials have conducted 100 interviews, followed more than 140 leads and had the assistance of more than 225 investigators working around the clock.
VIDEO: Wednesday noon report on search for Mariah Woods
"Our goal is to bring Mariah back," Sheriff Miller said.
When questioned about the adults in Mariah's life, Sheriff Miller said that "we've talked to them, they've talked to us," but would not elaborate further.
NewsChannel 12's Merrilee Moore reports biological father Alex Woods and his fiance said Wednesday night the lead detective in the case of missing Mariah Woods told them they are no longer suspects.
Officials emphasized multiple times that investigative details and particulars about the case are not being disclosed at this time and they plan on having another press conference later in the day.
Sheriff Miller said that this was a "focused" incident and there is no danger to the public. He also confirmed that the woman and child from the surveillance video released last night is not Mariah.
Officials were also questioned during the press conference after a dive team was seen pulling out of High Hill Road, which was closed to traffic Wednesday. Law enforcement had no comment.
"We are taking every lead seriously," an FBI official said.
Officials are asking for members of the community to search their own properties for anything that looks out of the ordinary. If anyone finds something suspicious, they should contact the Onslow County Sheriff's Office.
The FBI official also emphasized that they are still looking for anyone who had contact with the family on Sunday, November 26, or Monday, November 27, to come forward.
If you have any information about Mariah's disappearance or this case, contact the Onslow County Sheriff's Office at (910) 455-3113 or call 911.
Below is a transcript of comments from the FBI from Wednesday's press conference.
Thank you to the community for your continued support to help us find Mariah. We have searched hundreds of acres of Onslow County by foot, by air, and with K9s. Agents and investigators with more than 14 local, state, and federal agencies have also conducted nearly 100 interviews, and have followed more than 140 leads. More than 225 investigators, agents, and other law enforcement employees are working around the clock with one goal in mind, to find Mariah and bring her home safely. Many of those leads were generated from tips provided by the community. Thank you!
We know many of you want to help and we are working on plans for a volunteer search. It will take a lot to organize, so please be patient. Team Adam from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is here to assist. Right now, we are asking you search the areas around your own homes for any clues to find Mariah. You know your own home and surrounding area best. Please go take a look and call us immediately if you find anything out of the ordinary.
No piece of information is too small or insignificant. 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 at 910-455-3113. It is crucial that we have a detailed timeline to help us find Mariah.