A 5-year-old North Carolina girl is still missing 3 days after a man was arrested and charged with kidnapping her. Police suspect Shaniya Davis's mother provided her to 29-year old Mario Andrette McNeil for sexual favors in exchange for drugs and/or cash.
Fayetteville, NC police arrested Shaniya's mother, Antoinette Nicole Davis, and charged her with child abuse involving prostitution, human trafficking and filing a false police report.
According to arrest reports, Davis "knowingly provide(d) Shaniya Davis with the intent that she be held in sexual servitude" and she "permit(ted) an act of prostitution."
Shaniya had only lived with her mother for one month before she went missing.
McNeil (pictured below) has been charged with kidnapping Shaniya after he was seen on a hotel surveillance camera on Thursday (11/12) carrying the child into a Sanford hotel room about 40 miles from Fayetteville.
Shaniya's mother reported the girl missing Tuesday morning (11/10) from a mobile home community in Fayetteville, and authorities began searching nearby wooded areas. She said she last saw her around 5:30 a.m. Tuesday morning.
Police responded to the home around 6:50 a.m., and immediately suspected foul play was involved in the girl's disappearance. “There is definitely something not right about the situation. Foul play is suspected,” Fayetteville police spokeswoman Theresa Chance said Tuesday evening. The mother’s live-in boyfriend and her sister, along with an infant and Shaniya's 7-year-old brother were also in the home when the girl went missing.
On Thursday, police took the mother's boyfriend, Clarence Coe, 30, into custody and charged him with kidnapping. But Coe was released the next day and all charges were dropped.
Investigators said they found a blanket that might have belonged to Shaniya in a garbage can outside a neighbor's home, along with other items the little girl was wearing. Shaniya was last seen wearing a blue t-shirt and pink underwear.
Police sealed the home Tuesday and prevented family members from entering, citing extensive sewage leaks inside the mobile home.
Bradley Lockhart, center, father of missing 5-year-old Shaniya Davis, cries during a news conference at the police station, Thursday, Nov. 12, 2009 in Fayetteville, N.C.
Shaniya's father, Bradley Lockhart, told The Associated Press he raised his daughter for several years but last month decided to let her stay with her mother. He said Shaniya's mother struggled for years with alcohol and drug abuse as well as financial difficulties. He said she recently found a stable job and her own place so he decided to give her a chance to raise their daughter.
"I should've never let her go over there," Lockhart said Saturday night.
Chance said the family has a history with the Department of Social Services.
"There have been major DSS issues with this family – who has custody, switching back and forth," Chance said. This summer, officers served a search warrant at the home and found a variety of drugs inside.
Lockhart said police have not told him whether they are any closer to finding his daughter.
"I just want her to come back safe my friend," he said. "I love her very much and I hope she is OK."
He described his relationship with Davis as a "one-night stand" and said he and Davis never argued about him raising Shaniya.
"Shaniya is a precious young lady and she is special," Lockhart said.
Fayetteville police say they interviewed three registered sex offenders in the area. The sex offenders are not considered suspects.
Police have not said whether they believe Shaniya is dead. "We're treating this as a child in danger, with the information we have," Chance said.
Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4