Shaniya’s mother, 25-year-old Antoinette Davis reported the little girl missing last Tuesday morning. Shaniya allegedly shared a small mobile home with her mother, her 7-year-old brother, her aunt, another child, and her aunt’s current boyfriend. It was at 6:53 AM that Tuesday morning when Shaniya’s mother called police to report her daughter missing. Davis said she last saw her daughter in the trailer at 5:30 AM; however surveillance videos subsequently revealed that Shaniya was seen in the arms of Shaniya’s aunt’s ex-boyfriend, Mario Andrette McNeill at 6:11 AM that morning in a hotel some 40 miles northwest of the trailer park. McNeill left the hotel with the little girl at 7:30 AM, escaping before police could respond to the report. In this case the time line and the mother’s story just didn’t make sense. Someone was lying and a little girl’s life hung on multiple false statements and outright lies that contributed to her ultimate death.
An eye witness reported seeing Shaniya leaving the trailer court in a car driver by Antoinette Davis’ current boyfriend, 30-year-old Clarence Coe, and Coe was later arrested and charged with kidnapping. However when the hotel video surfaced showing McNeill with Shaniya, Coe was released and McNeill was arrested and charged with kidnapping the young child, something he initially admitted to before he stopped talking to investigators. McNeill refused to provide any information concerning the condition or location of the missing and endangered child, leaving it up to searchers to search for and eventually recover her body.
Bradley Lockhart is Shaniya’s biological father. He’s indicated his relationship with Antoinette Davis, who has been charged with prostitution, was “a one night stand.” Lockhart had assumed custody and responsibility for Shaniya, but allowed her to live with her mother this past month so the two could bond together. Lockhart now blames himself for allowing his daughter to visit her mother, noting they had moved into Antoinette’s sister’s trailer within the last 30 days. When authorities considered this cast of characters, they noted that both Coe and McNeill had been arrested and imprisoned in the past for various charges to include assault and the possession and sale of drugs. Police had served search warrants concerning drugs on the home in which Shaniya resided, one that was declared a health hazard by authorities due to the deplorable conditions that were found there during the search for the missing girl.
This past weekend Antoinette Davis, who many questioned because she had not been openly associated with the search for her missing daughter, was arrested by police and charged with allowing her daughter to be taken “with the intent that she be held in sexual servitude,” i.e., she sold her 5-year-old daughter to someone who wanted the child for sexual purposes! Additional charges filed against the victim’s mother included filing a false police report, falsely reporting an incident, human trafficking and felony child abuse. According to police neither McNeill nor Davis are cooperating with the investigation.
Police evidently developed “reliable information” that the victim’s body had been dumped in a wooded area next to N.C. 87 near the town of Sanford, NC. A lookout has been posted for yet another man who witnesses say was seen with the victim. He is described as 60 years old and driving a blue Toyota, not further identified. Whether McNeill had handed the victim over to this man after he was with her is yet unknown.
Reading between the lines, it appears that Antoinette Davis did not bond with her daughter and is believed to have sold the little girl as a child prostitute, probably for drug money. McNeill, with a history of drug possession and sales, apparently took the child to a hotel where he remained with her for one and one half hours (purpose unknown) and then may have transferred the child to an unknown man, with one or the other murdering the pretty little girl and throwing her body away like that of a broken doll.
Should police investigators be correct in this matter, it appears that the one person a little girl should expect to protect her actually sold her into child prostitution, a heinous act normally associated with deprived third world individuals.
Few of us can comprehend, much less identify with the desperation and deprivation that would allow a woman to sell her own child into sex, but we know that hundreds of thousands of children around the world share a similar fate every year. While one of the world’s dirtiest open secrets, there are men willing to travel great distances, like to Thailand and other Asian countries to get illicit sexual contact with children. Some, however, need only drive down the road, like in this case. Even more tragic, the US Department of Justice says that on any given day tens of thousands of children across America are involved in prostitution. In 2003 the FBI began its “Innocence Lost Initiative” to fight against child prostitution. Five hundred and ten adults have been convicted and almost 1,000 children have been rescued to date, but thousands of other children, like Shaniya Davis, continued to be victimized every day.
Authorities held out hope that they would somehow benefit from a miracle and find little Shaniya alive, but they knew the chances of such a miracle decrease every day and the time for Shaniya, unfortunately, simply ran out. Children model themselves after their parents and those adults around them. No wonder so many children make such terrible choices when they grow older – we fail them when they need us the most.
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