Image: Antoinette Davis
Ashley Cross  /  AP
Antoinette Davis, right, listens to her charges on Monday near Sanford, N.C. Davis is the mother of a 5-year-old who was found dead by a heavily wooded road, ending a weeklong search, police said.
msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 11/18/2009 11:21:41 AM ET 2009-11-18T16:21:41

Investigators probing the kidnapping and death of a 5-year-old North Carolina girl say they are unable to file additional charges until they determine where the crimes occurred.

Fayetteville police had said they planned to file more charges in the death of Shaniya Davis, whose body was found Monday beside a rural highway in Lee County. But Police Chief Tom Bergamine said Wednesday more charges won't come until jurisdiction is determined.

Authorities are trying to decide where the girl was killed and if the case will be prosecuted in Lee County or neighboring Cumberland County, where she lived.

Searchers discovered the girl's body Monday, nearly a week after her mother reported her missing from a mobile home park in Fayetteville.

The child's mother, Antoinette Davis, 25, is charged with human trafficking and felony child abuse. Her sister, Brenda Davis, has said she does not believe the charges and argued that Antoinette would not hurt her children.

Also charged in the case is Mario Andrette McNeill, 29, who was accused of kidnapping Shaniya after surveillance footage from a Sanford hotel showed him carrying the girl. Authorities said McNeill admitted taking the girl, though his attorney said he will plead not guilty.

Under mom's care
Shaniya Davis had gone last month to stay for a while with her mother as part of an informal agreement with the father, Bradley Lockhart.

Lockhart declined to discuss details of the case Tuesday. He said Shaniya had spent most of her life living with him until he decided to give Antoinette Davis a chance with her daughter after she got a job and appeared to be overcoming financial difficulties. Shaniya moved to her mother's house on Oct. 9.

"She was just learning how to ride her scooter," Lockhart said. "Every day was special with Shaniya."

He spoke briefly to reporters gathered outside his home Tuesday. Teddy bears, stuffed animals, balloons and flowers adorned the steps to the house. Lockhart stepped outside for brief comments and pleaded to the public to be vigilant in reporting crimes.

"I'm sorry baby you had to go through this," Lockhart said, choking back tears. "But you are in a better place and in better hands."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments