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Earl Kimrey enters not guilty pleas in death of Mariah Woods

(WITN)
Published: Feb. 23, 2018 at 3:48 PM EST
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The man accused in the murder of Mariah Woods pled not guilty during his arraignment this afternoon.

Prosecutors also officially announced that they will seek the death penalty against Earl Kimrey.

The district attorney's office submitted a number of indictments against Kimrey, including first degree murder and felony child abuse on February 13.

Kimrey, the live-in boyfriend of the girl's mother, reported the Onslow County toddler missing on the morning of November 27, 2017.

Just this past Friday, new details were revealed with the unsealing of search warrants in the case. In one instance, a warrant indicates that a witness told investigators they saw Kimrey place an object 'bigger than a bookbag' into a van and leave the home he shared with the girl's mother on the evening of November 26th.

During the 15 minute hearing Monday afternoon, Kimrey was arraigned on the indictments, and each time his attorney, Wally Paramore, said his client was not guilty.

In announcing the state would try this as a capital case, District Attorney Ernie Lee said there was at least one aggravating factor that qualifies the murder for the death penalty. He did not say in court what that aggravating factor was.

Kimrey remains in jail without bond. The judge set April 23rd as an administrative hearing in the case.

You can read previous versions of this article below for more information.

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Previous Story:

New details have been released in the murder of Mariah Woods, the Onslow County toddler whose body was found nearly two months ago.

Search warrants obtained against Earl Kimrey and other documents were unsealed this afternoon at the Onslow County Courthouse.

Kimrey, the live-in boyfriend of the toddler's mother, is charged with the three-year-old's murder.

In one search warrant application for the mother's van, a sheriff's office deputy said that witnesses told them Kimrey was seen around 11:30 p.m. on the night of November 26th "placing an object in the van 'bigger than a book bag' and then leaving the residence." That was the night before the toddler was reported missing.

Documents also released today include the 911 call that Kimrey made on the morning of the 27th. "Our little girl, our little girl, she is missing," said a distraught Kimrey. "Ok, now how old is she," asked the 911 operator. "She's three years old," Kimrey responded.

He told 911 that the pajamas her mother put Mariah to bed in were found on the floor beside her bed that next morning.

"Me and my girlfriend put her to bed right when we came in. We came in from a trip last night and everyone went to bed around 8:30, around that time, I can't say for sure," Kimrey told the 911 operator.

Among items seized at the home on Dawson Cabin Road were receipts for different stores were found in outside trashcans, gray duct tape, part of a gray floor mat from the van, four bottles of bleach, syringes, a black bag with duct tape, a shovel, several pieces of carpet, carpet pad, a black flashlight and swabs from a black flashlight.

A section of the wall from a bedroom in the house was also seized by deputies.

Prosecutors say they'll seek the death penalty against Kimrey, who was indicted earlier this month's for Woods' murder.

The toddler was reported missing from her Onslow County home on November 27th by Kimrey, according to deputies.

At the time, Kimrey told investigators that after her mother, Kristy Woods, had gone to sleep, Mariah got up and Kimrey told her to go back to bed.

Kimrey said he left the home for a short period of time, leaving the door unlocked.

After an extensive search lasting several days, the girl's body was found near a bridge across Holly Shelter Creek on December 2nd.

Kimrey was originally charged with obstruction of justice and concealing a death. On January 24th, Onslow County deputies charged him with the child's murder.

Kimrey is due to be arraigned on the indictments on Monday.

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