(Reuters) – Local and federal law enforcement officials were searching on Tuesday for a 3-year-old girl who went missing from her bedroom in Jacksonville, North Carolina, after being put to bed on Sunday night, the local sheriff’s office said.
Mariah Woods may have been abducted, according to an alert issued by the state’s Department of Public Safety. The girl wears orthopedic braces on her feet to help her walk, WRAL TV in Raleigh, North Carolina, reported.
“She could be anywhere,” Kristy Woods, the girl’s mother, said in a tearful interview broadcast by WRAL. “She is a very sweet, loving girl. Long brown hair, blue eyes.”
Kristy Woods said she put her daughter to bed about 11 p.m. on Sunday, and said her boyfriend saw the girl about an hour later when the child got up and he had told her to go back to bed, WRAL reported.
The couple contacted the Onslow County sheriff’s office early the next morning to say the girl had disappeared.
Officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigation were helping the sheriff’s office with the search, said Shelley Lynch, a spokeswoman for the FBI’s Charlotte office.
There were no signs of forced entry at the home, but the back door was unlocked, WNCT TV in Greenville, North Carolina, reported, citing Woods family members.
Reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Bernadette Baum