The search for 3-year-old Mariah Woods of Jacksonville, North Carolina, has entered its fifth day, and despite help from the FBI and volunteers, she still has not been found.
On Friday, more than 700 people showed up to volunteer in a search through the woods for the little girl ― so many that some had to be turned away, according to a Facebook post from the sheriff’s office.
Some volunteers had driven from as far as 120 miles away in Raleigh, reported local NBC affiliate WYFF News.
The sheriff’s office reported on Wednesday that more than 14 local, state and federal agencies were cooperating in the search for Mariah, and had so far conducted 100 interviews, followed over 140 leads, and searched hundreds of acres of the county by foot, by air and with dogs.
The sheriff’s office posted video Friday of the state highway patrol assisting from the air in the search for Mariah:
“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,” the sheriff’s office posted on Facebook.
The search, which has been ongoing since Monday, has extended long past the critical first 48-hour period for authorities to locate a missing child and safely return them home. Each year, hundreds of thousands of children go missing in the United States ― the vast majority return home alive.
“Please, bring her back ... She’s my baby, she’s my everything,” Kristy Woods, who lives with her boyfriend, said at a news conference on Monday. “Just to be able to touch her and hold her and not let her go again. I’d give anything.”
The child’s biological father, Alex Woods, has expressed skepticism about her 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 told local ABC News affiliate WCTI News on Tuesday. “Nobody heard anything? Four people in the house, two adults and two kids someone just comes up and snatches the baby and walks out?”
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact Onslow County Sheriff’s Office at 910-455-3113, or Crime Stoppers at 910-938-3273.