Local News

Man charged with death of Fayetteville child

Posted November 19, 2009
Updated November 20, 2009

— Three days after finding the body of 5-year-old Shaniya Nicole Davis in rural Lee County, Fayetteville police charged a family acquaintance Thursday in her death.

Mario Andrette McNeill, 29, of 2613 Pine Springs Drive, was charged with first-degree murder and first-degree rape of a child. He has been held in isolation at the Cumberland County Detention Center on a first-degree kidnapping charge since his initial arrest last Friday.

He surrendered to police after the release of hotel security video from a Comfort Suites in Sanford that appears to show him carrying Shaniya on the morning of her disappearance.

Antoinette Nicole Davis reported her daughter missing from their Fayetteville home on Nov. 10.

Mario Andrette McNeill in court Man charged in Fayetteville child's death

In an affidavit for a warrant to search McNeill's 1997 Mitsubishi Galant, investigators said McNeill told them he picked Shaniya up in front of her home and drove her to the hotel.

Davis, 25, was arrested Saturday and charged with human trafficking, felony child abuse–prostitution, filing a false police report and obstructing a police investigation. Arrest warrants state that Davis "did knowingly provide Shaniya with the intent that she be held in sexual servitude" and "did permit an act of prostitution with Shaniya."

Despite the arrests, there was no word of Shaniya’s whereabouts until Sunday, when police said they had obtained reliable information that her body had been dumped in the woods off N.C. Highway 87 near the Lee-Harnett county line.

After extensive searches Sunday and Monday, volunteer searchers found her body about 100 feet off Walker Road in southeastern Lee County on Monday afternoon.

Police Chief Tom Bergamine said Thursday that a preliminary autopsy report shows Shaniya died of asphyxiation.

"Other tests still need to be conducted, so a final report has not been issued," Bergamine said.

Since the discovery of her body, authorities have struggled to resolve jurisdictional questions over who would handle the murder case. Prosecutors must prove where the girl was killed to establish legal jurisdiction to prosecute someone on a murder charge.

Prosecutors in Cumberland and Lee counties met for four hours Wednesday to discuss the issue, and Fayetteville police and Cumberland County District Attorney Ed Grannis met again Thursday.

The Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office finally took the lead on the case, resulting in the charges against McNeill.

Was girl payment for drug debt?

Meanwhile, investigators are trying to determine whether Davis might have given her daughter up to settle a drug debt, said Theresa Chance, spokeswoman for the Fayetteville Police Department.

“Lots of people are saying that, so it’s part of the investigation,” Chance said Thursday.

She declined to comment on whether Davis owed money to McNeill.

Funeral arrangements for Shaniya weren't complete Thursday.

Residents of the Sleepy Hollow Mobile Home Park, where she lived with Davis, held a Thursday night prayer service to remember the girl.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • familyfour Nov 20, 2009

    "their" sins....

    I got sidetracked thinking about how angry with the mother I am.

  • bubbba Nov 20, 2009

    Surprised they didnt put a vest on this guy and shackles.
    But did you see the deputy standing beside him. He never took his eyes off him. He looked meaner a dog full hot sauce and gun powder. If McNeill would have moved an inch I think that deputy would have settled this case right then and now.

  • familyfour Nov 20, 2009

    I hope everyone involved in her death gets the punishment they deserve, by law, by karma, and by her sins.

  • wildcat Nov 20, 2009

    PEOPLE: It is time to take a stance.

    Go about this in the right way. Don't take the law into your own hands regardless how you feel. But you are on the right track and I hope to see something going on real soon. Not just talk but action.

  • kathleensites Nov 20, 2009

    PEOPLE: It is time to take a stance. I am not sure how to go about it, but we all have to do something in our power to stop this. Today at 3pm at the McDonalds on the corner of Skibo and Morganton Rd. across from Cross Creek Mall, a few of us who want to get involved will be meeting. Anyone who is interested in protecting our children, please come. I am a mother of 4 and a grandmother of 7. I cannot take it anymore. Waiting on the law and social services takes to long and angels like Shaniya get prolested, abused, and yes murdered. We MUST get involved. We MUST be responislbe for each other. We MUST. We MUST. We MUST. I can be reached by email: kathleen_sites@yahoo.com or cell phone: 910-978-1966.

  • marciamal1 Nov 20, 2009

    yes, she has been selling her - that is why she was taken out of school - to support thE SCUMBAGS ADDICTION - SHe shouldnt even be able to have anymore children - HER DAY IS COMING and I CANT WAIT TO HEAR ABOUT IT!

  • ashmeadestables Nov 20, 2009

    He needs to be put down like the rabid dog he is and once that disgusting woman gives birth, she should follow suit.

    May that poor child get the Justice she so deserves and rest in peace!

  • misschris234 Nov 20, 2009

    I think the kidnapping charge is the least of his concerns right now... Considering his record, hopefully he will never see life outside of prison again

  • marciamal1 Nov 20, 2009

    This is my opinion on the whole thing - IF you don't know how to love a child - you shouldn't have children - period!!! - Everyone is so upset over this and this little girl remains in everyones' mind each day wondering how and why and how a mother could do that to her own child is beyond me. I am a mother of 2 and I could never imagine putting my addiction before my child.

  • wildcat Nov 20, 2009

    How will a kidnapping charge stick, if the "mother" gave or sold McNeil the child?

    Very interesting question. But even if she handed the child to this man, the man did not return the child as he should have done. Therefore, in my mind it was turn into a kidnapping and then murder. He is charge with both crimes.