Local News

Suspect in girl's disappearance seen driving off with her

Posted November 12, 2009 1:53 a.m. EST
Updated November 13, 2009 12:45 a.m. EST

— A man charged in the Tuesday disappearance of a 5-year-old Fayetteville girl was seen driving off with her, police said Thursday.

Fayetteville police arrested Clarence Darriel Coe, 30, of 211 Brookwood Ave. in Fayetteville, at about 11 p.m. Wednesday and charged him with first-degree kidnapping in the disappearance of Shaniya Nicole Davis.

The girl is still missing, and police provided no information Thursday morning on her possible whereabouts.

"She's in danger. She was abducted. We're taking this of the utmost importance and seriousness, so we're aggressively looking for her," said Theresa Chance, spokeswoman for the Fayetteville Police Department.

The girl's mother, 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.

A witness saw a man police believe to be Coe driving away from the Sleepy Hollow Mobile Home Park on Tuesday with the girl in his car, police said. Chance declined to identify the witness or say what time the abduction occurred.

A neighbor of the Davis family, Andrea Moore, said she was awakened at about 3 a.m. Tuesday by a banging noise outside her home.

The kidnapping wasn't random, Chance said, noting Coe knows the Davis family. She declined to elaborate on how he knows the family.

"His relationship to that family ... is part of the investigation," she said.

Coe's home on Brookwood Avenue is about 4 miles from the girl's house.

He was previously convicted of assault on a female, breaking and entering, larceny and other charges, according to state Department of Correction records.

Investigators focused on Coe as a suspect in Shaniya's disappearance early on and questioned him Tuesday and Wednesday, Chance said.

Antoinette Davis also was questioned for much of Tuesday and Wednesday, and Shaniya's father flew in from out of state Tuesday afternoon and also spoke with investigators.

"We're dealing with getting very differing stories constantly, so we're trying to piece together the truth and what was going on at the time," Chance said.

Coe showed little emotion during a brief court appearance Thursday afternoon.

"I'm not guilty, sir. That's all I've got to say about it," he told District Judge Tal Bagette.

She confirmed that police pulled a blanket from a garbage can near the Davis house that they believe belongs to Shaniya. She wouldn't discuss how the evidence fits in to the investigation.

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, prompting them to suspect foul play in the case.

Heavy rains since late Tuesday have hindered further search efforts.

"There's a lot of information we're following up on," Chance said. "We have a lot of people calling now, giving us tips and leads. We're re-interviewing people at the mobile home park that we talked to previously."

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 about her whereabouts is asked to call Fayetteville police at 910-433-1856, 911 or *HP.

Coe was being held Thursday in the Cumberland County Detention Center under a $100,000 bond. His next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 2.