2nd arrest in missing girl case

November 14, 2009 5:00:34 AM PST
Police in Fayetteville say they've made a second arrest in the case of a missing 5-year-old who's the focus of a nationwide Amber Alert. Shaniya Davis has been missing since Tuesday. Fayetteville Police Department spokesperson Theresa Chance said Davis was spotted alive in the company of a 29-year-old man the morning she disappeared. Now that man, Mario Andrette McNeill, has been arrested.

Chance had no information on the whereabouts of Davis.

"I can't speak to if she's alive or not," Chance told reporters at a Friday morning news conference.

Click here to watch the news conference

Police said they started looking for McNeill after getting a tip from a hotel in Sanford that he had been there with Davis. Sanford is about 40 miles north of Fayetteville. Detectives said surveillance video at the Comfort Inn showed the man carrying the girl towards an elevator at 6:11 a.m. Tuesday morning.

Click for images from the surveillance video and for pictures of missing Shaniya Davis

Chance said McNeill was taken into custody after he turned himself in Thursday night and has been questioned. She said he admitted to taking Davis. She would not elaborate on where Davis might be, but did say police are hopeful of finding her alive.

Davis' father pleaded at a Thursday night news conference for his daughter's safe return.

"Shaniya, if you are listening to daddy ... I miss you so much ... I'm not going to give up," Bradley Lockhart said.

Thursday, the Fayetteville Police Department had announced another arrest in the case. Clarence Coe, 30, of Brookwood Avenue in Fayetteville was charged with first-degree kidnapping after a witness told investigators they saw him leaving the mobile home park where Davis lives with her in his car.

But at Friday's news conference, Chance said there is new evidence that shows Coe was not involved, and said he was released.

"I'm not an idiot, I'm not stupid, but I feel like I was violated," Coe said. "The whole time I told the detectives I wasn't guilty, they came and talked to my family, they said my family was lying."

When ABC11 Eyewitness News asked Coe what he thought happened to Davis he said he did not know.

"I've been asked that by 13 detectives and everybody, I don't know and I tell you like I told the detectives, I don't think the mother had anything to do with it," he said. "Do I feel there might have been some negligence somewhere, yes I do."

Coe says Antionette Davis, the child's mother, was his girlfriend and he says he wasn't at the mobile home when the child disappeared.

"Every day I was there the little girl was never in the living room," Coe said. "Every night when I slept there the little girl was never in the living room, so all I can say is educated people figure it out."

Meanwhile, officials say McNeill has an extensive criminal background. An ABC11 check of his record turned up convictions for selling illegal drugs, assault, shooting into an occupied home, and more.

He was arraigned on first-degree kidnapping charges Friday and was ordered held on $100,000 bond. His lawyer said he would enter a not guilty plea.

Anyone having any information on the current whereabouts of Shaniya Davis is urged to contact the Fayetteville Police Department at (910) 433-1856. To leave an anonymous tip, call Crime Stoppers at (910) 483-8477.

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