Mother's arrest warrant
kidnappers arrest warrant
No murder charge yet in girl's death.
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — A week after a 5-year-old Fayetteville girl disappeared and a day after her body was found near Sanford, police are still trying to sort out the evidence in the case to determine who to charge in her death.
Shaniya Nicole Davis was reported missing from her home, at 1116-A Sleepy Hollow Drive, by her mother last Tuesday morning. Volunteer searchers found her body Monday afternoon in some woods off N.C. Highway 87 near the Lee-Harnett county line.
Two people have been arrested in Shaniya's disappearance – charges against a third person were dropped – but no one has been charged with killing her.
Lee County authorities have referred all questions to the Fayetteville Police Department. The department has a news briefing scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday, but it's unclear whether new charges will be announced then.
Police arrested Mario Andrette McNeill, 29, on Friday and charged him with first-degree kidnapping in the case. Investigators said McNeill has admitted to taking Shaniya from her home, and hotel security video from a Comfort Suites in Sanford last Tuesday shows the girl being carried by a man believed to be McNeill.
Shaniya's mother, Antoinette Nicole Davis, 25, was arrested late Saturday and charged with human trafficking, felony child abuse–prostitution, filing a false police report and obstructing a police investigation. Arrest warrants state that Davis "did knowingly provide Shaniya with the intent that she be held in sexual servitude" and she "did permit an act of prostitution with Shaniya."
After those arrests, police wouldn't comment on Shaniya's whereabouts. On Sunday, investigators received "reliable information" that Shaniya's body had been dumped off N.C. 87, which led to an extensive search of the area and the discovery of a child's body.
The body was removed from the woods late Monday and sent to the State Medical Examiner's Office in Chapel Hill to determine a cause of death. The medical examiner confirmed Tuesday that the body was Shaniya's.
Police wouldn't say whether McNeill, who is described as a former boyfriend of Davis, provided the information that prompted the search, but they made clear Monday that the information didn't come from an outside tip.
Both McNeill and Davis are being held in isolation at the Cumberland County Detention Center for their protection, authorities said.
Authorities confirmed Tuesday that Davis is pregnant and that Clarence Coe is the father of the child.
Davis initially accused Coe of kidnapping Shaniya, but police dismissed the charge and released him from jail after determining the information to be false and then arresting McNeill.
Father to speak with media
Shaniya's father, Bradley Lockhart, plans to speak with reporters at his Fayetteville house at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Lockhart attended a candlelight vigil for Shaniya Monday night and cried out as people held him up.
"Lord, I come to you with open arms, and it is hard. It is hard," Lockhart said, his legs shaking and tears in his eyes as he spoke to the crowd of about 500. “Don’t give up on me, and don't give up on Shaniya."
During a Monday morning interview on CBS' "Early Show," he said he and his sister had been caring for Shaniya until a few weeks ago, when she went to live with her mother. Davis had worked to get her life together and had been working for at least six months and gotten a place of her own, he said.
"She had asked if she could be a mother, and I felt she was sincere in asking, and I figured to give her a chance," he said.
Cumberland County Schools officials said Shaniya was a kindergarten student at Morganton Road Elementary School until October, when she was taken out of the school and wasn't enrolled elsewhere. No reason was given for the move.
A search of court records turned up no previous criminal charges against Davis, but she has been investigated by the Cumberland County Department of Social Services.
Her uncle, Michael Davis, said DSS looked at her with regard to her 7-year-old son, not Shaniya. The case was closed, and Antoinette Davis was able to retain custody of the boy, her uncle said.
DSS Director Brenda Jackson has declined to comment on her agency's involvement with the Davis family.
Antoinette Davis worked in the kitchen at Carolina Inn at Village Green, an assisted living facility in Fayetteville.
CES, a South Carolina-based staffing company that has a contract with Carolina Inn, hired her in June 2008 after an extensive background check, an official said. She had a good employment record at both Carolina Inn and the Haymount Nursing Rehabilitation Facility, but she is no longer employed by the company, the official said.