Shaniya Davis Dad Defends Giving Girl to Mom Now Charged with Selling Her as Sex Slave

(Family Photo)
Photo: Shaniya Davis.

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (CBS/AP) Bradley Lockhart, the father of Shaniya Davis, the North Carolina girl who was kidnapped, raped, and murdered in early November, said he made the best decision he could at the time when he let the girl live with her mother, who has since been charged with prostituting her own daughter.

PICTURES: Shaniya Davis Found Dead
PICTURES: Shaniya Davis' Vigil

Photo: Bradley Lockhart speaks at his daughter's funeral Nov. 22, 2009.

Lockhart said during a Tuesday interview on NBC's "Today" show that he regrets how the decision turned out, but thought he was making the right choice for the daughter he had raised himself.

"We obviously make decisions in life that sometimes have repercussions or adverse situations that drift from our decision. We just have to continue to believe in God and hope that our decisions are the correct ones," he said.

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

PICTURES: Shaniya Davis Found Dead
PICTURES: Shaniya Davis' Vigil

Lockhart said he last saw his daughter in early October as he left for an out-of-state work assignment. The girl moved in with her mother Antoinette Davis, 25, about a week later after initially staying with Lockhart's sister, he said.

The father said he spoke to Davis after she reported the girl missing Nov. 10. Police said she was killed the same day.

(AP/Fay. Observer/Ashley Cross)
Photo: Antoinette Davis listens to charges against her Nov. 16, 2009 in a North Carolina court.

PICTURES: Shaniya Davis Found Dead
PICTURES: Shaniya Davis' Vigil

Lockhart said he hasn't spoken to Davis since she was charged last week with human trafficking and child abuse by prostitution of her daughter.

Mario McNeill, an acquaintance of Davis, is charged with murder, rape and kidnapping.

Authorities in Cumberland County said Tuesday that Davis had been moved from the county jail to the North Carolina Correctional Center for Women in Raleigh.

Lockhart said he didn't think he missed any warning signs that Shaniya would be at risk if he accepted Davis's request to help raise the girl. He has said Davis struggled financially over the years, but she had recently gotten a job and her own place.

"I don't think I really missed any (signs). Of course there's always speculation. There's always things you could look at and say, well maybe, maybe not," Lockhart said.

The North Carolina Child Fatality Task Force will review contacts the Cumberland County Department of Social Services had with Davis, who also has a 7-year-old son, The Fayetteville Observer reported Tuesday.

"This is a family that was already known to social service workers down there," task force co-chairman Tom Vitaglione said. "They are all very distraught about the whole thing."

The task force is charged with investigating every child death in the state, said Kevin Kelley a spokesman for the state's child welfare services. It will not begin looking into the Davis case until all criminal actions have been resolved or until a year after Shaniya's death, whichever comes later, Kelley said.

The task force will look at when local social services workers first contacted the family, the status of the case and whether proper procedures were followed, Vitaglione said. Investigators also will consider the impact of state and local budget cuts on social service agencies, he said.

"Child protective service divisions have been hit particularly hard," Vitaglione said.

PICTURES: Shaniya Davis Found Dead
PICTURES: Shaniya Davis' Vigil

VIDEO: WRAL - Funeral for Shaniya Davis
VIDEO: WRAL - Funeral held for slain Fayetteville girl

November 20, 2009 - The Shaniya Davis Story: Timeline of "Angel's" Last Days on Earth
November 18, 2009 - Shaniya Davis' Little Body Found Near Deer Carcasses in Trash
November 18, 2009 - Police: No New Charges for Shaniya Davis' Death ...For Now
November 18, 2009 - Shaniya Davis' Aunt Says Mother, Antoinette Davis, was "Neglectful" Before Child's Murder
November 17, 2009 - Shaniya Davis Vigil: Tearful Father Bradley Lockhart Prays, "She's Right There With You"
November 17, 2009 - Antoinette Davis, Mom Accused of Selling Shaniya Davis as Sex Slave, is Pregnant Again
November 17, 2009 - Shaniya Davis, Fallen "Angel" Remembered In Pictures
November 16, 2009 - Mario Andrette McNeill: Things May Get Much Worse for Man Charged With Kidnapping Shaniya Davis
November 16, 2009 - Shaniya Davis Found Dead; Mother Turned Little Girl Into Sex Slave, Say Police
November 16, 2009 - Bradley Lockhart, Shaniya Davis' Father, Pled For Girl's Return in Vain
November 16, 2009 - Shaniya Davis Found Dead; Mother Turned Little Girl Into Sex Slave, Say Police
November 16, 2009 - Shaniya Davis Not Found: Cops Fear Missing Child is Dead, Search Focuses on Body
November 16, 2009 - Shaniya Davis: Missing 5-Year-Old Seen in Horrifying Hotel Video
November 16, 2009 - Shaniya Davis Missing: Mother Arrested for Human Trafficking, Putting Daughter in "Sexual Servitude"
November 11, 2009 - 5-Year-Old Shaniya Davis Missing; Foul Play Suspected