Antoinette Davis moved to state prison

Antoinette Davis is charged in her daughter Shaniya's disappearance and murder.
November 24, 2009 1:42:33 PM PST
Cumberland County officials said Tuesday they've moved 25-year-old Antoinette Davis to the North Carolina Correctional Center for Women in Raleigh for her safety. Meanwhile, state officials want to know what the Cumberland County Department of Social Services knew about Davis, the mother of 5-year-old Shaniya Davis. The child was the subject of a statewide Amber Alert until her body was discovered last week off a rural road in Sanford.

Family members told ABC11 Eyewitness News that DSS has investigated Shaniya's mother, Antoinette Davis, in the past, but Davis was allowed to keep Shaniya and her 7-year-old son.

The North Carolina Child Fatality Task Force will review contacts the Cumberland County Department of Social Services had with Davis.

"This is a family that was already known to social service workers down there," task force co-chairman Tom Vitaglione said. "They are all very distraught about the whole thing."

The task force, a division of the state Department of Health and Human Services, will look at when local social services workers first contacted the family, what the status of the case was, and if proper procedures were followed, Vitaglione said. Investigators also will consider the impact of state and local budget cuts on social service agencies, he said.

"Child protective service divisions have been hit particularly hard," Vitaglione said.

The director of the Cumberland County DSS says its records are confidential and releasing any information about contacts with the Davis family would jeopardize any potential criminal case.

Shaniya's father, Bradley Lockhart, admitted in a interview with ABC11 last week that he was unaware of any issues that would have caused him to question sending Shaniya to live with her mother.

Lockhart appeared on NBC's "Today" show Tuesday and said he regrets how the situation turned out and giving Shaniya to her mother. He also said he thought he was making the right decision at the time.

"We obviously make decisions in life that sometimes have repercussions or adverse situations that drift from our decision. We just have to continue to believe in God and hope that our decisions are the correct ones," he said.

Lockhart said he last saw Shaniya in early October as he left for an out-of-state work assignment. Lockhart said Shaniya moved in with her mother about a week later after initially staying with Lockhart's sister.

He said he spoke to Davis after she reported Shaniya missing Nov. 10. Police said the girl was killed the same day. Lockhart said he hasn't spoken to Davis since she was charged last week.

Lockhart said he didn't think he missed any warning signs that Shaniya would be at risk if he accepted Davis's request to help raise the girl.

"I don't think I really missed any. Of course there's always speculation. There's always things you could look at and say, well maybe, maybe not," Lockhart said.

Mario McNeill is charged with child rape and first-degree murder in the death of Shaniya. Davis is charged with human trafficking and child abuse by prostitution.

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