Father pleads for missing girl's return, but police get tip about bodyFAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — The father and aunt of a missing 5-year-old Fayetteville girl made a heartfelt plea for her return Monday, while authorities followed a tip that her body had been dumped in a densely vegetated area near the Lee-Harnett county line.Shaniya Nicole Davis was first reported missing from her 1116-A Sleepy Hollow Drive home by her mother early last Tuesday. On Friday, Mario Andrette McNeill, 29, was charged with kidnapping, and late Saturday, her mother, Antoinette Nicole Davis, 25, was arrested on accusations that she prostituted her daughter.
Fayetteville police said Monday that they have received a tip that Shaniya's body was dumped along Walker Road, off N.C. Highway 87. About 200 law enforcement agents and volunteers are searching the area.
"I just ask that at this time, please just let her go," Shaniya's aunt, Carey Lockhart Davis, pleaded on CBS' "Early Show" Monday. "She doesn't deserve this. Have a kind heart."
"Drop her off at WalMart, anywhere, I don’t care – just so somebody can find her and bring her back to the people that love her," her father, Bradley Lockhart, said.
The site where authorities are searching is about 6 miles from the last confirmed sighting of Shaniya. She was seen on security video at the Comfort Suites hotel in Sanford, along with a man who police believe is McNeill.
Also on Monday, Davis will appear in court. Police said that arrest documents say that she "knowingly provide(d) Shaniya Davis with the intent that she be held in sexual servitude" and she "permit(ted) an act of prostitution."
Lockhart said hearing of those developments in the case was devastating.
"Just everything inside you falls out, you just lose all train of thought. And you just hope for the best," he said.
Lockhart and Lockhart-Davis, who live out of state, cared for the girl until last month, 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, Lockhart 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.
Lockhart-Davis, who is not related to the girl's mother, recalled happy times with Shaniya, when the girl would come home from school showing off marks for good behavior.
"She's a precious, little angel, full of joy," Lockart said. "A little reserved when you first meet her, but once she gets to know you, she just runs around, plays and won't leave you alone.
"She's just a happy, little angel," he continued.
Shaniya is described as 3 feet tall and 40 pounds. She has brown hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a blue T-shirt with pink underwear. She is thin and has a scar on her foot.
Anyone with information on Shaniya's whereabouts is asked to call the Fayetteville Police Department at 910-433-1856 or Crime Stoppers at 910-483-8477.
Posted: Today at 6:04 a.m.
Updated: 34 minutes ago