Local News

Police: Foul play suspected in Fayetteville girl's disappearance

Posted November 10, 2009 10:09 a.m. EST
Updated November 10, 2009 9:01 p.m. EST

— Cumberland County authorities say foul play is suspected in the disappearance of Shaniya Nicole Davis. The 5-year-old girl went missing from her home, 1116-A Sleepy Hollow Drive in Fayetteville, Tuesday morning.

An Amber Alert was initiated for Shaniya just before noon, Lt. David Sportsman said.

Police responded to the home around 6:50 a.m., and Shaniya's mother told officers that she last saw her daughter at 5:30 a.m. The mother’s boyfriend and her sister, along with an infant and Shaniya's 7-year-old brother were also in the home when the girl went missing.

“There is definitely something not right about the situation. Foul play is suspected,” Fayetteville police spokeswoman Theresa Chance said Tuesday evening.

It is unclear how the child left the home.

"The circumstances surrounding her disappearance are very odd. A 5-year-old usually...(is) not awake at 5:30 a.m. normally, and they just wouldn't leave their home," Chance said. "If she would have wandered out of her home, she would be around here somewhere."

Chance said the family has a history with the Department of Social Services.

"There have been major DSS issues with this family – who has custody, switching back and forth," Chance said.

Chance said it's unknown whether the child's disappearance is related to those issues. Police said Shaniya's father flew in from out of state Tuesday afternoon and was talking to investigators.

"We're treating this as a child in danger, with the information we have," Chance said.

Chance said police have been called to the home before. This summer, officers served a search warrant at the home and found a variety of drugs inside.

The family was not allowed inside the home Tuesday evening after it was deemed a health hazard due to extensive sewage leaks, authorities said.

Police K-9s, firefighters and sheriff's deputies searched the area throughout the day Tuesday.

“We are searching for her and hoping to find her alive, but we just don't know at this point,” Chance said.

Chance noted that search dogs did not pick up Shaniya's scent, which they would have if the child was wandering around outside.

Shaniya is described as 3 feet tall and 40 pounds. She has brown hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a blue T-shirt with pink underwear. She is thin and has a scar on her foot.

Fayetteville police say three registered sex offenders live in the neighborhood. Theresa Chance said the offenders, along with everyone else in the neighborhood, have been interviewed.

The sex offenders are not considered suspects, Chance said.

Anyone with information is urged to call Fayetteville police at 910-433-1856 or call or call 911 or *HP.