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Shaniya Davis Not Found: Cops Fear Missing Child is Dead, Search Focuses on Body

(AP Photo)
Photo: Shaniya Davis.

SANFORD, N.C. (CBS/AP) Police still hope 5-year-old Shaniya Davis will be found alive, but that hope is dwindling.

PICTURES: Shaniya Davis Found Dead

About 200 searchers fanned out across several miles southeast of Sanford, N.C. on Monday based on "reliable information" that the missing girl's body may have been discarded, said Fayetteville Police spokeswoman Theresa Chance.

Shaniya has been missing since last Tuesday. Her mother, who reported her gone, is accused of offering her for prostitution, according to court documents and police.

Antoinette Davis, 25, has been charged with human trafficking and felony child abuse, police said. Police also filed kidnapping charges against 29-year old Mario Andrette McNeill, who was seen in surveillance footage carrying Shaniya at a Sanford hotel.

Authorities have said McNeill admitted taking the girl, though his attorney said he will plead not guilty to the charge. Police have not said if McNeill and Davis knew each other.

Davis was scheduled to make a first court appearance Monday afternoon and police said she did not yet have an attorney.

Shaniya's father, Bradley Lockhart, said he raised his daughter for several years but last month decided to let her go back to her mother. He has pleaded for her safe return.

"I should've never let her go over there," he told The Associated Press on Saturday.

He said on CBS's "The Early Show" Monday that he remained hopeful someone would bring his daughter somewhere safe, such as a police station or hospital.

"They can drop her off at Walmart, I don't care," he said.

PICTURES: Shaniya Davis Found Dead

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  • Edecio Martinez

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