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Shaniya Davis Found Dead; Mother Turned Little Girl Into Sex Slave, Say Police

(Family Photo/WRAL-TV)
Photo: Shaniya Davis.

STORY CONTRIBUTED BY CBS AFFILIATE WRAL

NEW YORK (WRAL) The body of missing 5-year-old Shaniya Nicole Davis was recovered Monday afternoon, Fayetteville Police Chief Tom Bergamine said.

PICTURES: Shaniya Davis Found Dead

The child was first reported missing from her home by her mother last Tuesday morning. On Friday, Mario Andrette McNeill, 29, was charged with first-degree kidnapping, and late Saturday, her mother, Antoinette Nicole Davis, 25, was arrested on accusations that she prostituted her daughter.

Fayetteville police scheduled a 2:30 p.m. news conference at the Benhaven Fire and Rescue Department on Barbeque Church Road.

Fayetteville police received a tip Sunday that Shaniya's body was dumped along Walker Road, off N.C. Highway 87, said Theresa Chance, spokeswoman for the Fayetteville Police Department. About 250 law enforcement agents and volunteers searched the area Monday morning, but they moved farther south after noon.

Searchers focused on an area 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, last Tuesday morning.

Shaniya's father and aunt appeared on CBS' "Early Show" Monday to beg for the girl's safe return.

"I just ask that, at this time, please just let her go," said Shaniya's aunt, Carey Lockhart-Davis. "She doesn't deserve this. Have a kind heart."

Lockhart and his sister, 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.

Antoinette Davis is scheduled to appear in court Monday afternoon. 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-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," Lockhart 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."

STORY CONTRIBUTED BY CBS AFFILIATE WRAL

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PICTURES: Shaniya Davis Found Dead

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  • Sammy Saltzman

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