Fayetteville, N.C. — Cumberland County District Attorney Ed Grannis and Fayetteville Police Chief Tom Bergamine have asked the State Bureau of Investigation to look into whether social workers have turned over all of their records in the death of 5-year-old Shaniya Nicole Davis.
The girl was reported missing from her Fayetteville home on Nov. 10. Her body was found in a patch of kudzu off a rural road near the Lee-Harnett County line six days later.
She died of asphyxiation, according to preliminary autopsy results.
Mario Andrette McNeill, 29, of 2613 Pine Springs Drive, has been charged with first-degree murder, first-degree rape of a child and first-degree kidnapping in the case. Police have characterized him as a family acquaintance.
Shaniya’s mother, Antoinette Nicole Davis, 25, has been 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 “did permit an act of prostitution with Shaniya.”
McNeill and Antoinette Davis are being held in state prisons in Raleigh for their own protection, authorities said.
The Cumberland County Department of Social Services previously looked at Davis with regard to her 7-year-old son, not Shaniya, according to her uncle, Michael Davis. The case was closed, and Antoinette Davis was able to retain custody of the boy, her uncle said.
DSS Director Brenda Jackson has previously declined to comment on the agency’s involvement with the Davis family, citing the investigation into Shaniya’s death as well as confidentiality rules for child welfare cases.
Grannis sent a letter Friday to Cumberland County Manager James Martin to notify him that he and Bergamine have requested an SBI investigation of DSS.
“Chief Bergamine has requested the SBI’s assistance to determine if Fayetteville police have received complete and accurate records from Cumberland County DSS regarding this case,” Grannis wrote. “Based upon the information provided to me and my senior staff by the Fayetteville Police Department concerning these issues, I share their concern, and I have requested the assistance of the SBI to assist us in this regard.”
In a statement released by Cumberland County spokeswoman Sally Shutt, Jackson said she would ensure that her office cooperates with authorities to resolve the matter.
Neither Jackson nor Grannis returned phone calls Monday seeking further comment.
Shaniya’s father, Bradley Lockhart, declined to comment. The girl lived with him and his sister until early October, when he allowed her to go live with Antoinette Davis.
Authorities with the state Child Fatality Task Force already are looking into any DSS contact with the Davis family. The task force studies all child deaths in North Carolina to make recommendations to legislators on changes to state laws and administrative polices to prevent future deaths.
In just a matter of a month the families and friends of Somer Thompson, Elizabeth Olten and Shaniya Davis have suffered losses beyond words. Our country and even the world has been riveted by the tragic abductions and deaths of the innocence of these beautiful little girls. These abductions and murders are so remote from each other – yet ending for each was the same, all three children have received their wings from our Spiritual Father.
The twists and turns of each case is outlandish – Elizabeth and Shaniya’s abductors and murderers have been found, arrested and charged but the community that Somer was a part of lives in fear on a daily basis as her assailant is still at large.
We will all sit and wait, glued to the media that will report any piece of information that may make any remote sense to all of us for the loss of these precious children.
Please keep all families in your thoughts and prayers and please don’t forget all of the other children who are not high profile cases that have simply vanished or have received their wings prior to the girls.
To assist parents I would like to share some guidelines to help you to make your child/children more safe.
The first step in protecting your child from potential abductors is to know what you’re dealing with. Here are some important — and potentially surprising — facts about child abductions in the United States:
- Every 40 seconds in the United States, a child becomes missing or is abducted.
- In 2001, 840,279 people (adults and children) were reported missing to the FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC). The FBI estimates that 85 to 90 percent of those (roughly 750,000 people or 2,000 per day) reported missing were children. The vast majority of these cases are resolved within hours.
- Based on the identity of the perpetrator, there are three distinct types of kidnapping: kidnapping by a relative of the victim or “family kidnapping” (49 percent), kidnapping by an acquaintance of the victim or “acquaintance kidnapping” (27 percent), and kidnapping by a stranger to the victim or “stranger kidnapping” (24 percent).
- Family kidnapping is committed primarily by parents, involves a larger percentage of female perpetrators (43 percent) than other types of kidnapping offenses, occurs more frequently to children under 6, equally victimizes juveniles of both sexes, and most often originates in the home.
- Acquaintance kidnapping involves a comparatively high percentage of juvenile perpetrators, has the largest percentage of female and teenage victims, is more often associated with other crimes (especially sexual and physical assault), occurs at homes and residences, and has the highest percentage of injured victims.
- Stranger kidnapping victimizes more females than males, occurs primarily at outdoor locations, victimizes both teenagers and school-age children, is associated with sexual assaults in the case of girl victims and robberies in the case of boy victims (although not exclusively so), and is the type of kidnapping most likely to involve the use of a firearm.
- Only about one child out of each 10,000 missing children reported to the local police is not found alive. However, about 20 percent of the children reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in nonfamily abductions are not found alive.
- In 80 percent of abductions by strangers, the first contact between the child and the abductor occurs within a quarter mile of the child’s home.
- Most potential abductors grab their victims on the street or try to lure them into their vehicles.
- About 74 percent of the victims of nonfamily child abduction are girls.
- Acting quickly is critical. Seventy-four percent of abducted children who are ultimately murdered are dead within three hours of the abduction.
- One in five children 10 to 17 years old receive unwanted sexual solicitations online.
- In a 1998 study of parents’ worries by pediatricians at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, nearly three-quarters of parents said they feared their children might be abducted. One-third of parents said this was a frequent worry — a degree of fear greater than that held for any other concern, including car accidents, sports injuries, or drug addiction.
Sources: Federal Bureau of Investigation; National Crime Information Center; U.S. Justice Dept.; Vanished Children’s Alliance; Redbook, February 1998; State of Washington’s Office of the Attorney General; United States Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Juvenile Justice Bulletin, June 2000
IN MEMORY OF ALL OF THE CHILDREN THAT ARE MISSING OR HAVE RECEIVED THEIR WINGS………..
I am a tiny angel …
I’m smaller than your thumb;
I live in people pockets,
That’s where I have my fun.
I don’t suppose you’ve seen me,
I’m too tiny to detect;
Though I’m with you all the time,
I doubt we’ve ever met.
Before I was an Angel …
I was a fairy in a flower;
God, Himself, hand-picked me,
And gave me Angel power.
Now God has many Angels
That He trains in Angel pools;
We become His eyes, and ears, and hands …
We become His special tools.
And because God is so busy,
With way too much to do;
He said that my assignment
Was to keep close watch on you.
Then He tucked me in your pocket,
Blessing you with Angel care;
Saying I must never leave you,
And I vowed to stay right there!
~ Virginia Ellis ~
Copyright © 1999