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Cumberland DA wants deeper probe of DSS in girl's death

Posted September 22, 2010

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— Cumberland County District Attorney Ed Grannis said Wednesday that he's dissatisfied with a state investigation into the county's social services department after a 5-year-old girl was kidnapped, raped and killed last year.

"I do not feel that the crucial issues involved in this investigation have been sufficiently answered," Grannis said in a letter to the State Bureau of Investigation. "I am, therefore, requesting the assistance of the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office to assist me in resolving remaining questions which I have concerning the Cumberland County Department of Social Services."

Grannis and Fayetteville Police Chief Tom Bergamine requested the SBI investigation last December after questions were raised about the county’s contact with the family of Shaniya Davis before her disappearance. The SBI turned its findings over to Grannis last Friday.

Shaniya was reported missing from her Fayetteville home on Nov. 10. Her body was found in a patch of kudzu off a rural road near the Lee-Harnett County line six days later.

An autopsy determined that she died of asphyxiation and that injuries she suffered were consistent with a sexual assault. A medical examiner noted in the autopsy that investigators believe the girl was used to pay off a drug debt.

Mario Andrette McNeill, 29, of 2613 Pine Springs Drive, has been charged with first-degree murder, first-degree rape of a child and first-degree kidnapping in the case. Police have characterized him as a family acquaintance.

Shaniya's mother, Antoinette Nicole Davis, 25, has been 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."

The Cumberland County Department of Social Services previously looked at Davis with regard to her 7-year-old son, not Shaniya, according to her uncle, Michael Davis. The case was closed, and Antoinette Davis was able to retain custody of the boy, her uncle said.

Grannis and Bergamine expressed concerns that DSS case workers were withholding information in the case.

DSS Director Brenda Jackson has previously declined to comment on the agency's involvement with the family, citing the investigation into the death and confidentiality rules for child welfare cases.

17 Comments

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  • Glass Half Full Oct 1, 2010

    The "mother" of this child is walking around free, she is or was pregnant, and isn't facing murder charges even though she sold her daughter knowing what was going to happen to her. I can't wait for Grannis to retire at the end of the year. Why go after Social Services when the parents of this poor baby and the human waste she was sold to should be held accountable for her senseless murder.

  • shortz1994 Sep 23, 2010

    next they need to hit wake county dss, they are just as bad,if not worse.

  • Sherlock Sep 23, 2010

    It is not all theworkers at DSS, just some and they need to start at teh top and then work down.

  • kellypratz Sep 23, 2010

    the mom & the suspect deserve death sentence. I have no tolerance for child killers nor any tolerance for the mother who knowingly gave her child to this man.

  • BEACH Sep 23, 2010

    The Dad is to blame for this also, he knew what kind of conditions this child was living in with her Mom. SS failed this child Big Time, but most fo the time they do.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Sep 23, 2010

    Any Tea Party or "less government" folks want jump in here and say that we need to cut Social Services all-together?...like you do at your rallies? I mean, each family should take care of themselves and never rely on the gov't for anything...including safety.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Sep 23, 2010

    Maybe this DA should look into why they continue to cut funding for Social Services and then increase the load on already overburdened workers there...and then try to hold them responsible for one of their 185 simultaneous cases.

  • peppercorns Sep 23, 2010

    Please. her mama sold her for drugs. Let's not blame and already overworked department. Sooner or later her mom would have caused her damage. She can never be hurt again where she is now. If the State want sto do something...give her druggie mom the death penalty. I'd sure vote for that.

  • mshood7 Sep 22, 2010

    Keep up the investigation. The Social Services dropped the ball and they should be held accounable. This was such a tragedy of horrific preportions. GET THE JOB DONE!

  • bombayrunner Sep 22, 2010

    Wonder if we will all get to hear the results of that DSS investigation because I sure would like to hear them. This is like a monsters ball.

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