Local News

Blanket believed to be missing girl's found in trash can

Posted November 11, 2009 1:32 p.m. EST
Updated November 13, 2009 11:53 a.m. EST

Shaniya Nicole Davis

— Fayetteville police battled the rain Wednesday as they continued to search for a 5-year-old girl who disappeared from her home early Tuesday.

Investigators recovered a blanket that might belong to Shaniya Nicole Davis from a neighbor's garbage can. The neighbor, Andrea Moore, said police told her the blanket belonged to the missing girl.

Antoinette Davis said she put Shaniya on the couch in their home, at 1116-A Sleepy Hollow Drive in Fayetteville, at about 5:30 a.m. Tuesday. When she went to check on her daughter about an hour later, the girl was missing, Davis told police.

An Amber Alert was initiated for Shaniya several hours later.

Moore said she was awakened by noises outside her home at about 3 a.m. Tuesday.

"It sounded like somebody was beating (on the wall)," she said.

She went back to sleep but was awakened later by police saying they were confiscating her trash can because it contained evidence in the disappearance of her young neighbor.

"Every time I think about it, it upsets me," she said. "The idea that this baby was missing is bad in itself, but actually feeling like I had something to do with it, that's pretty hard to deal with, this evidence being in my trash can."

Moore said she has no idea how the blanket got into her garbage can. She said police told her it was covered in feces and that feces was also found on the back porch of Davis' home.

The Davis family wasn't allowed to return to the home Tuesday because officials deemed it a health hazard due to extensive sewage leaks.

Police are looking at surveillance video of anyone who left the Sleepy Hollow Mobile Home Park early Tuesday, Moore said.

"I hope that she's found alive. I don't know what to think about this," she said. "From what I've heard and how the situation happened, it doesn't add up to me. I don't know what happened to her. I don't know what happened at the house."

Police said Tuesday that they suspected foul play in the case, noting that they doubted the child would have walked off on her own at that time of day.

Police dogs searched the neighborhood and some nearby woods late Tuesday and didn't pick up Shaniya's scent. Investigators said the dogs would have picked up her trail if she had been walking around the area.

"This case is definitely priority," said Sgt. Tracey Bass-Caine of the Fayetteville Police Department. "Anytime you have a child of this age (missing) or a child where the circumstances (of her disappearance) are questionable, then of course this takes precedence."

Bass-Caine said the rain that started falling across central North Carolina late Tuesday and continued Wednesday was hindering the search effort. Evidence in the case could be washed away, she said.

"We had to close down the extensive search we were doing (Tuesday night) because of the inclement weather," she said.

Antoinette Davis spent much of Tuesday and Wednesday at police headquarters answering questions. Shaniya's father flew in from out of state Tuesday afternoon and also spoke with investigators.

Police spokeswoman Theresa Chance said the family has a history with the Department of Social Services as far as custody of Shaniya and other children in the house.

Chance said police also have been called to the home before. Officers served a search warrant at the home over the summer and found various illegal drugs inside.

Neighbors said they remain hopeful for Shaniya's return.

"It's just shocking that's she's even gone," Crystal Greer said. "A lot of people have been wondering, 'Where is she? Who took her? How could she just up and disappear like that?' We're all praying she comes home and she's safe."

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.

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