State News

Touched by girl's death, Shaq offers to pay for funeral

Posted November 26, 2009
Updated November 27, 2009

— Basketball star Shaquille O'Neal offered to pay for the funeral of Shaniya Davis after seeing news of the 5-year-old's kidnapping and slaying, funeral director Corey R. Breece Sr., of Rogers and Breece Funeral Home, said.

In a statement to CNN, O'Neal said, "What happened to her was tragic. I wanted her to have a funeral that would be as beautiful as she was."

O'Neal's spokesperson told the network that he saw the story on Nancy Grace.

Breece said Thursday that the bill had not been paid, but that O'Neal's representatives had expressed interest in helping with the costs.

More than 2,000 people attended her funeral Sunday. The girl's body was found Nov. 16 beside a rural road.

Her mother, Antionette Davis, who had reported the child missing six days earlier, is charged with human trafficking and child abuse involving prostitution. Mario McNeill is charged with murder, rape and kidnapping in the case.

"I was sitting at home watching it on the news and the story brought a tear to my eye," O'Neal told The Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • james27613 Nov 27, 2009

    I agree, new stiff laws need to be passed ASAP.

    Send all these convicted sex offenders to one central prison.

    Get one of the closed military bases and use one for these
    sex offenders who are not fit to walk the earth.

    Even better, execute them if found guilty in a court of law.

  • 07GoldWinger Nov 27, 2009

    My respect for that man just went up a notch.

  • bigredtruckman Nov 27, 2009

    Shaq is a real, genuine class act. Now HE is a professional athlete that kids should look up to!

  • parker2 Nov 27, 2009

    Hats off to Shaq. The mom should rot in jail....he helped a child and not the mother who sold her.

  • materialgurlnc Nov 26, 2009

    "I'm curious about who actually planned the funeral. It turned into a huge media event with the big screens and all of the electronic stuff. Who was expected to pay for all of this before Shaq stepped in and who decided to do such a major production in the first place?
    November 26, 2009 2:54 p.m"

    Manna Church is very contemporary and has thousands of members. The big screens and electronic equipment have always been there. There was a huge outpouring of concern and empathy from the whole community, I'm sure that many people wanted to make sure that little Shaniya had a beautiful service.

  • craziecrafter Nov 26, 2009

    Great Guy, head it jerked at his heartstings and brought tears to his eyes. (mine too)

  • timothycapwell Nov 26, 2009

    He really is a cool dude.

  • jenzinnia Nov 26, 2009 and your wife Shaunie are the best. God Bless you both for stepping up and helping this beautiful little girl that didn't have the life she deserved. You are giving it to her with her burial.

    To her father who had opened an account solicting funds for her about taking that money and donating it to a foundation that helps kids or start one in Shaynia's name. Accept the O'neals gift and help other kids with the donations you have already received.

  • Myra Nov 26, 2009

    Not a Carolina Panther; not a North Carolina celeb; not a wealthy North Carolinian; but Louisiana's own Shaquille "Shaq" O'Neal. Admirable guy with a huge heart. I would like to see SHANIYA'S LAW, requiring anyone who gives or takes a child in sex trafficking (yes child sex trafficking - not just human trafficking) and is convicted gets mandatory life without parole. (Whatever happened to life and ''hard labor?'' -- NO PLEA DEALS or Alford Pleas as is the current trend in NC.

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Nov 26, 2009

    natebrew: "start a charity in the little girls name that can help prevent this in the future, don't bail the mother out of the hole she dug for herself."

    Zog: "Now if he would say donate several weeks worth of his income to help prevent future tragities like this that would really impress me."

    natebrew and Zog, those are GREAT ideas. Why don't the two of you start that foundation? But before you do, I guess you would need to solve the problem of HOW your foundation would help stop this from happening. Good Luck, though. And Happy Thanksgiving to you all.