Image: Mario McNeill
Cumberland County Sheriff via AP
Mario McNeill, accused of kidnapping 5-year-old Shaniya Davis faces new charges that he raped and asphyxiated her.
updated 11/20/2009 7:53:19 AM ET 2009-11-20T12:53:19

A man charged with raping and killing a 5-year-old North Carolina girl was expected in court Friday, a day after authorities revealed what they believed happened to her in her final days.

Authorities said Thursday that Shaniya Davis was sexually assaulted and asphyxiated before her body was dumped off a rural road. Mario McNeill is charged with first-degree murder and first-degree rape of a child, Fayetteville Police Chief Tom Bergamine told reporters at a news conference.

Earlier in the week, authorities said McNeill admitted taking the girl, but Bergamine did not say whether McNeill admitted to the child's death.

A search warrant says McNeill picked the girl up in front of her home and drove her more than 30 miles to a hotel in Sanford, where she was last seen alive. Surveillance video captured McNeill carrying the girl in the building.

"It is our sincere hope that the Davis family may now begin to put this horrific event behind them and begin the healing process," Bergamine said at the news conference.

McNeill's lawyer, Allen Rogers, did not immediately respond to a message left at his office after hours.

The girl's mother, Antoinette Davis, is charged with trafficking her daughter and child abuse involving prostitution. Bergamine said Thursday night that no new charges have been filed against Davis.

Police issued the warrant containing the new charges against McNeill after they collected hair and fibers, clothes, and a straw from his 1997 Mitsubishi Galant.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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