Life In Prison Won't Atone For Shaniya Davis' Death

The body of five year-old Shaniya Davis was discovered this afternoon in the woods outside Fayetteville, NC.

Shaniya had been missing for a week and when I first read about her story this morning, she was still only "missing". No body had been recovered and her father, Bradley Lockhart, was still pleading for someone to return her.

He wasn't with Shaniya's mother and he'd had custody of Shaniya for most of her life.

"She had asked if she could be a mother, and I felt that she was sincere in asking and I figured to give her a chance."

That chance turned into the mother, Antoinette Davis, being arrested and charged with, "human trafficking, felony child abuse involving prostitution, filing a false police report and interfering with the investigation." Yes, the police said Davis had offered her daughter up for prostitution.

There are so many horror stories in our world but this really made me pause. What kind of sick person offers their own child, a five year-old up for prostitution?

I immediately began to wonder if her mother was a drug addict? A mentally ill person? But even if that's the case, I thought to myself no, I know too many people who have had addiction and mental health issues.

Break into your house?
Sure. Lie to you for money? Sure. Think ice cubes are talking? Yep. Prostitute themselves? Possibly.

But never once have they offered any kids, their own or anybody else's, up for prostitution. This story was beyond the comprehension of even my dysfunctional mind.

Offering your child up for prostitution means you are soulless. Pure evil. There's no need for a devil with a pitchfork when you have people on this earth doing stuff like this. No need for a 2012 disaster film when the crumbling of the world is all too evident in this story. Who does this?

As I continued to read the story, it explained that the mom initially filed a false missing child report, but her story quickly unraveled.

Video surveillance was later reported of Shaniya being carried through a hotel hallway and waiting for an elevator. Being carried by a grown man. Again, I wonder, who does this to a child? Who shuts off their heart and soul long enough to do this?

This photo makes me want to throw up. It's the last known image of Shaniya alive.

A hotel employee called the police after recognizing Shaniya from media reports, and the man, Mario Andrette McNeill, was later arrested on charges of kidnapping but Shaniya was nowhere to be found.

After I read the story, I said a prayer that Shaniya didn't suffer for too long. I've sat through too many TV interviews with profilers and experts where they talk about how if the missing person isn't found within a few hours, the likelihood of them surviving drops significantly.

Apparently the police somehow knew they were looking for a body as well, and, tragically, defenseless Shaniya Davis' body was found this afternoon in the woods.

My immediate reaction was to think that stories like these are why I don't knock the death penalty too much. I've said before I feel like it should apply to rapists and child molesters - and now I'm going to add that it should apply to parents who prostitute their children out to other adults.

There is no atonement for something like this that doesn't involve being put to death. Life in prison does not make up for this child's death. Or any child's death.

Moments like these, I understand why they used to burn people at the stake. I'd love to put all parties involved in this child's death at the top of a stack of the driest wood possible. I'll empty some cans of something flammable just to guarantee ignition.

I have a feeling there are thousands of people out there who'd be willing to throw the first flaming torch on Shaniya's behalf.

Comments

I pray she didn't suffer too much either. The entire thing just sucks. Unbelievably sucks.

And do you know how common it is? So many mothers prostitute their daughters for money, to their boyfriends, their fathers, who ever will give the mother what she wants. Just sucks.
Marcela said…
This makes me sick!

I too agree with your thoughts on the death penalty!

Disgusting!!!

What is going on with people? What is going on with mothers?
Anonymous said…
How terribly sad. A hearbreaking story, and the photo by the elevator clutched at my heart. Some people are truly evil, and the concept of fry the bastards doesn't bother me at all.
Cassie said…
You are right that only the death penalty is fitting for this monster and the man who actually killed this beautiful little angel.

Words fail me as to what possessed this woman to use her daughter so cruelly.

Unfortunately, however, I've heard of mothers selling their daughters as prostitutes many times before.
Phi Sister said…
I am in school and don't have time to watch much news. When they still hadn't announced they were looking for a body (even though I guessed since they were looking in the WOODS!) I WEPT. I wept and prayed for her. I kept thinking to my self "a mommy is supposed to love her baby more than this". Now I don't know what to think. I really do not know. Every time I think of this I start crying. The time has come for punishment to be increased severely for this behavior. I am ready to bring back death penalty options for child trafficking, molestation, and the like. My God! Someone protect the babies. If no one else, at least the babies!
Brittany said…
I heard this news while I was driving home today. It made me want to pull over and cry. Cry for her death but also her life. It's a horrifying thought that the one person who should've loved and protected her was the person who was doing the most vile things possible. I'm so sad for all those who truely loved her but I believe she's in a better place.
Unknown said…
She wanted "another chance" to be a mother. And this is what she did with that chance. That beautiful child...I have echo everyone else who has said it (or thought it): what kind of "mother" would DO such a thing! It's beyond my comprehension!

I have to say, Liz, that woman probably is evil and mentally ill AND on drugs. In fact, I'm hoping that's the truth. Being mentally ill and/or on drugs does not excuse this most heinous crime, but at least it offers a modicum of an explanation. Otherwise, we are left with the fact that she is just plain EVIL. And that makes her, in my opinion, beyond human and judicial redemption. This is a spiritual matter of the very highest degree.

However,child prostitution is a lot more common in the US than we have been led to believe. There have been more than a few cases prosecuted here in Sacramento, and I believe that the numbers are even higher in LA, SF and Oakland.

Check out this website - http://www.justice.gov/criminal/ceos/prostitution.html
Jameil said…
I was heartbroken when I saw she was found dead. There was a little girl whose father left her to die in below 0 temperatures in Pittsburgh. Footsteps showed she toddled in the snow trying to get out of the woods before she died. She was missing for at least 15 hours. I HATED covering that story.
Kmoney said…
i live in NC and have been overcome with waves of rage off and on all day. I called a friend and told her i felt lost, because i am actually hoping for the painful death of this man and this woman.

and frankly, i am angry with the father for giving his child over to this animal because she wanted a "chance:...to sell her child to a monster.

i don't know what to do with this anger and sadness. it feels like a weight i can feel on my arms, legs, chest.
Tracy said…
This whole tragedy just broke my heart. My heart breaks every time I hear stories like this and I never forget the names of these babies. The picture of her in that monsters arms in the hotel churns my stomach. Her body was dumped in the woods like she was garbage. It just leaves me enraged and so heartbroken. It makes me afraid to ever bring a child into this world.

And in this instance, I to am pro-death penalty. People who rape or commit heinous crimes against children and the elderly and the mentally challenged don't deserve to live.
MartiniCocoa said…
"She had asked if she could be a mother, and I felt that she was sincere in asking and I figured to give her a chance."

How is the father going to live with himself knowing that he delivered his child to her death?
Yvonneinla said…
Horrible. Horrible. Horrible. I can't get the image of the man holding the little girl at the elevator out of my head. She looks so calm.
Why would the father give that woman his child when she'd been out of the picture for so long? It's so sad.
nick said…
And human beings like to think they're better than animals. So when did you last hear of an animal prostituting their young? Funny, nothing comes to mind.

I can understand people's fierce feelings about cases like this but I've always opposed the death penalty, mainly because of the many infamous cases of innocent people being put to death.

Life imprisonment is punishment enough with the complete denial of personal freedom and any kind of normal life. And if they wish to commit suicide in jail, that's their decision.
Poor child. That picture of her at the elevator is beyond upsetting.

Why did the father leave her alone with her unstable mom for three weeks? Why was nobody checking in on her? I feel there is more to this story.
Tracy said…
nyc/caribbean,

I hate to say it, but I feel there is something more going on here as well. This "mother" was never a part of this child's life and now it's come out that she drugs were found in her home and there is also a record of child abuse of other children in the home, yet the father allows her to stay with the mother for three weeks cause she wanted another chance? Are you kidding me?

Something just does not sound right. I can't believe he would be that terribly naive.
Sundry said…
Truly gutwrenching.
Nerd Girl said…
I weep when I see that picture. Every time. Shaniya looks so trusting and peaceful - my mind will not allow me to imagine the horrors she experienced. I pray for them all.
Unknown said…
This is such an atrocious crime. One of my daughter's is 5 yrs old so this really made me cringe. I recently had a conversation with an atty who formerly prosecuted child molesters and who was normally against the death penalty, but in the case of child molesters was totally for it because studies show they have the highest rate of recidivism.

As for the father, how could he let his child go with this woman given her track record? If she wanted another chance why not start with a few hours of supervised visits instead of handing her over to this woman she barely knew for three weeks?!?!

I pray that Shaniya rests in peace and that she receives justice.
Anonymous said…
I can't help but look at the picture of her being held while waiting for the elevator. She appears to be clutching his should as though he is her protector. The notion is just to unbearable to comprehend. Who will protect these children when their minds are not mature enough to fully understand what is happening to them is wrong? Do we really want people like this living amongst us? I am for the death penalty of all those involved. I pray that her other children are placed in a proper home and that this Beautiful Angel did not die in vain.
Liz Dwyer said…
Claudia,
It's horrible to think that this kind of thing is common. Last night I thought about this in light of the convo I overheard last week w/ the two women who said stuff like the movie Precious doesn't really happen. It happens & it can be worse than we can imagine.

Marcela,
On a micro level I am still thinking about drugs being a driving force behind this. Or maybe people just are so broke they really will do anything for money.

Ian,
That photo chilled me to the core. As far as I know, no one has yet been charged with Shaniya's murder, but when they are, I've read that the death penalty can be applied in to this.

Cassie,
Ugh, I know it's happened before. I think I just block out the other stories of moms selling their daughters as prostitutes here in the States.

Phi Sister,
I agree that the punishments for these kinds of crimes need to become MUCH harsher. I'm supposed to foot the bill for three meals for child predators/murderers to live in prison? No ma'am. Not down with that.

Brittany,
I keep thinking about what her life must've been like in the few days before her death. Was she being abused? Was she completely oblivious to what was going to happen? She is so clearly in a better place. Goodness.

Angela,
The stats/info on that site are so disheartening. People have no boundaries nowadays. None whatsoever. And yes, we can somewhat understand this is the mom is mentally ill and on drugs. Not fully, but somewhat. And if she's not, the plain evil thing is

Jameil,
Oh gosh, how do you even cover that? That's horrible.

Boca Flaca,
When I saw the trailer the family lived in, I said to myself there's no way I would ever let any of my kids step foot in there. I just don't get why he did it either.

Tracy,
I was a kid when the Atlanta Child Murders happened and it put such a paranoia in me. I don't think my sons will ever walk down the street alone till they're adults. But this isn't even strangers. It's her MOM. Makes it so much worse.

I Am Not Star Jones,
I don't know. I read an interview with the dad's sister & I guess she was the one who sent Shaniya off w/ the mom b/c the dad was out of town for work and wasn't even in town when Shaniya 1st went missing. That father's whole family has GOT to be a wreck right now.

Yvonne,
Calmness or fear. Apparently the parents never had official custody hearing so the mom was always in picture, but not as consistently b/c she didn't have life together.

Nick,
Questionable application of death penalty for sure, and knowing how it disproportionately impacts black men... but still, we house plenty of people in prisons who've committed heinous murders/rapes and we have full proof they've done it. I don't think that's right.

NYC/CR,
Apparently he was out of town for work and his sister let Shaniya go with her mom. Read about it here.

Tracy,
Check out that link I posted in my reply to NYC/CR. Apparently the mom was a part of Shaniya's life even though the girl didn't live with her. But I do think more needs to come out on this story. It just makes no sense.

Sundry,
Yes it is. :(

Nerd Girl,
Yes, she looks very trusting, very much like all of our children look - and I think we're all picturing our own children being murdered, even if we ourselves would not be the ones giving them up to these psycho pedophiles.
Liz Dwyer said…
Anonymous,
Looking at the mug shot of the man holding her, it makes my skin crawl. What an evil person to do whatever he did or play whatever role he played in the murder of that child.
Anonymous said…
The faces of these beautiful little angels will forever be embedded in my mind. Let us please also pray for young Jashon Williams who at just 17 months old his fragile body was recently found washed up in a Marina in Berkeley, CA. His killer was released from prison after only serving 11 years for the brutal killing of a young child. Jashon’s young mother was also killed by this man, who apparently the system felt he was stable enough to return to humanity.

Jashon with your beautiful blue eyes and Cherub cheeks, I am so sorry we couldn’t do more to protect you.
Tracy said…
I don't understand how a person could murder a child and then be out of jail after 11 years!! When you commit a heinous crime like that, you should be locked up for life. Period! Why do we as a society think that these monsters can be rehabilitated. It's like the system treats a child rapist/murderer like they robbed a convenience store or something.

That guy who kidnapped Jaycee Dugagard had brutally raped a woman and a mere 3 years after serving just 11 years of a 50 year sentence, he kidnapped Jaycee and we all know the rest of the story. This stuff happens over and over again. Every time a tragic story like this happens, the suspect is always some sex offender who just got out of prison. It's amazing. How many more children have to die before we realize that these monsters don't deserve a second chance! You can't rehabilitate or get rid of a sickos lust for children!
Liz Dwyer said…
Anonymous,
"His killer was released from prison after only serving 11 years for the brutal killing of a young child. Jashon’s young mother was also killed by this man, who apparently the system felt he was stable enough to return to humanity."

What in the world??? That's just sick.

Tracy,
I don't believe they can rehabilitate either. I could be wrong but I don't. They just repeat their actions over and over again.
Lotus Flower said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Liz Dwyer said…
Mimi,
It seems like getting any info out of the perpetrators is a problem. Too bad torture is off the table.
I had to scroll through your post quickly as the image of her being held waiting on the elevator brings me to tears every SINGLE TIME....she even looks content, happy, not crying in that video and to think she had no idea of her fait at that moment makes me heart hurt, weep and makes my cry...I'm at work trying to type this and tears are rolling down my eyes...there are no words for this at all...just no words.

And what pains me even more is that she was with her mother since mid October not even a month....the poor father will feel guilty the rest of his life for letting her go....
Nick's comment hit me to the core:And human beings like to think they're better than animals. So when did you last hear of an animal prostituting their young? Funny, nothing comes to mind.
I agree with Mimi...I'm all for a womans rights but I don't see any reason why the mother should NOT be sterilized....yeah she might turn her life around 10 years from now and want to start a fresh and have kids but you know what...you should have thought about that years ago.
TaraMetBlog said…
i have chills reading your overview of this horrible story. I just don't undestand how anyone can hurt a child or anyone for that matter. To hurt them so much that they kill them, ick. I'm just glad that both parties have been arrested and not still spreading their misery. Souless indeed.
Liz Dwyer said…
Today they charged the guy, Mario Andrette with her rape and murder.

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/232/story/1065631.html

I just feel sick knowing there are people out there who do this kind of thing to children.
This situation is so horrible.

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