Mariah was last seen by her mother's boyfriend late Sunday night and was reported missing Monday morning.
"We don't know what happened".
Onslow County Sheriff Hans J. Miller told Fox News there appeared to be no sign of a break-in or unlawful entry at Woods' home.
Kristy Woods, Mariah's mother, then reached out to the public to help her with her daughter's whereabouts.
She says her live-in boyfriend saw the girl about an hour later, when she came out of her room and he told her to go back to bed.
"I don't feel that she just walked out the house".
The FBI says a 3-year-old girl reported missing earlier this week is not the girl seen in a photograph in a Walmart in North Carolina. "I'd give anything." She is described as a white female standing about 2' 9" tall and weighing around 30 pounds.
Speaking to the community, officials said the best way to help was to search familiar areas for any clues that could help law enforcement in their search.
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Drones and helicopters have been supplementing ground searches. Woods said he's desperate to find his daughter and his biggest hope is that she will be returned home safely.
Family members said the girl has an orthopedic leg problem, so when she walks her left leg is thrown around and causes her to wobble. The child is not Mariah Woods and the woman does not have any connection to the ongoing investigation to find Mariah, they said.
According to broadcast reports, Mariah's mother put her to bed on Sunday evening and contacted authorities at 6 a.m. on Monday when she found that her daughter was missing from her bed.
Woods, who said he only found out his daughter was missing when the Amber Alert went out, told WCTI that he had been given custody of the young girl and her brothers previous year while child protective services investigated an incident involving their mother, but that he had not seen the children since.
When they went to check on her in the morning, she was gone.
"It said, "3-year-old Mariah Kay Woods" and I was like, 'What?"
Kristy Woods on Tuesday issued an emotional plea for the girl's return. You may also contact your local Federal Bureau of Investigation office, or the nearest American Embassy or Consulate.
If you have any information regarding this abduction, call the Onslow County Sheriff's Office immediately at 910-455-3113, Crime Stoppers at 910-938-2373 or call 911 or *HP.