State News

Cumberland awaits DSS probe after girl's slaying

Officials in Cumberland County say they want to see the results of an investigation into their social services department that was launched after a 5-year-old girl was kidnapped, raped and slain last year.

Posted Updated
Shaniya Nicole Davis
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Cumberland County's top prosecutor says he wants to see the results of an investigation into the county's social services department launched after a 5-year-old girl was kidnapped, raped and slain last year.

Prosecutor Ed Grannis requested the inquiry after questions were raised about the county’s contact with the family of Shaniya Davis before her disappearance. The Fayetteville girl was abducted and killed in November.

The Fayetteville Observer reported Sunday that the State Bureau of Investigation probe is finished, but Grannis has yet to meet with investigators or county officials.

The county agency was questioned after critics alleged documents might have been altered after the slaying.

Separately, the state Child Fatality Task Force was looking into any DSS contact with the Davis family. The task force studies all child deaths in North Carolina to make recommendations to legislators on changes to state laws and administrative polices to prevent future deaths.

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

Shaniya had lived with her father, Bradley Locklear, and his sister until he allowed her to go live with Davis in early October.

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." Davis was charged with with human trafficking, felony child abuse–prostitution, filing a false police report and obstructing a police investigation

Mario Andrette McNeill, 29, is charged with first-degree murder, rape of a child and kidnapping in the case.

An autopsy determined that Shaniya 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.

Davis has been released from prison after a family member posted a $51,000 bond. McNeill is being held without bond in a safe-keeping cell at Central Prison in Raleigh.

Information from: The Fayetteville Observer
1 / 7

Copyright 2023 by and the Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.