Community continues to mourn loss of Mariah Woods through vigil


JACKSONVILLE, Onslow County - Mariah Woods was reported missing almost two weeks ago. Last Saturday, the three-year-old's body was found in Shelter Creek along Shaw Highway in Pender County.

The community that searched tirelessly for her continues to grieve, gathering Sunday evening for a vigil behind the memorial where hundreds of stuffed animals and other tokens of love for the child have been placed.

"I really do want justice for her," said Dawn Browning, who attended the Vigil.

It's why dozens came, including many law enforcement officers that responded to the case initially.

Angela Wiles organized the event. Even though Wiles said she did not know the Woods family, she said she wanted to do something special for them.

"When I received the news early Saturday morning I had a million different emotions. My heart was crippled with hurt. I couldn't breathe and I felt so helpless but I had to do something," said Wiles.

So did Officer Stephen Fell. That's why he left his signed police vest on Mariah's memorial. He now plans to wear that vest while working to always keep her close to him.

"I've worked many cases throughout the 20 years but any time it involves a child it affects all of us in law enforcement different, its been something close to home and I'll always remember," said Fell.

The vigil tonight was the last planned vigil for Mariah Woods.

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