A man arrested last summer in connection to the disappearance of a young mother in South Florida is now facing a second-degree murder charge, the Hollywood Police Department announced Tuesday.
Shannon Ryan, 39, was taken into custody last August just weeks after 21-year-old Leila Cavett went missing. He was initially charged with kidnapping, but the federal charge was dropped in April. A charge of child neglect without great bodily harm was added.
According to a press release issued by the Hollywood Police Department on Tuesday, Ryan is now facing charges of second-degree murder and tampering with evidence in connection to Leila’s disappearance.
Leila was last seen on the evening of July 25, 2020, with her 2-year-old son, Kamdyn. They had traveled to South Florida from their home in Georgia.
Hours later, on the morning of July 26, Leila’s son was found wandering alone in only a shirt and diaper at a Miramar apartment complex. There was no trace of Leila.
On July 28, her vehicle was found unattended in a Walmart parking lot in Hollywood, Florida. A man, later identified as Shannon Ryan, told investigators he had known Leila since 2019, and that she had traveled to Florida to sell him her pickup truck.
In a video posted to Ryan’s Facebook page, he claimed he met Leila at his home in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, when she showed up with her baby, saying her car broke down and she needed shelter. Ryan said he let them stay for two months, and taught Leila witchcraft during that time.
Ryan told investigators that he last saw Leila on July 25 at the RaceTrac gas station in Hollywood after they had spent the day at the beach. He claimed she, along with her son, got into another person’s vehicle at the gas station that night. But the FBI said video evidence didn’t support his claim.
It was determined that Ryan had used Leila's debit card for two purchases on July 26 at a Walmart near the gas station where she was last seen, according to court documents. Investigators say he bought odor eliminator, duct tape and extra-large garbage bags.
Several employees of the RaceTrac gas station were interviewed and told investigators that they had seen Ryan using the dumpster the night of Leila’s disappearance. They stated some of the items discarded were children’s toys and women’s clothing.
An arrest report released Tuesday says surveillance video from July 27, 2020, shows Ryan dragging a large object wrapped in black garbage bags from the truck to a dumpster. He was also seen throwing away what appeared to be bloody towels, the report says.
According to the report, investigators also found that Ryan had searched "does bleach and alcohol make chloroform" and that he visited Hollywood's Waste Management website to see times of commercial trash pick-up in the city.
The arrest report also revealed that before his arrest, Ryan had made several videos of himself describing his relationship with Leila, calling her a "manipulative thief" who wasted his time and "hustled him."
The dumpsters at the gas station have been removed as part of the investigation. The FBI has conducted multiple searches of the Monarch Hill landfill in Pompano Beach, Florida, but Leila’s body has not been found.
Shannon Ryan is being held at Broward County Jail without bond.
Anyone who may have information on Leila’s case is asked to contact the Hollywood Police Department at (954) 764-4357 or 954-967-4411. Tips can be emailed or texted to email@example.com. You can also contact the Broward Crime Stoppers at www.browardcrimestoppers.org.