Witness says he believes he saw Shaniya Davis alive

Mario McNeal listens to testimony.
May 5, 2013 9:00:00 PM PDT
A former maintenance man at the Comfort Inn and Suites in Sanford told jurors Monday he watched Mario McNeill load Shaniya Davis into a car and leave the morning of November 10, 2009.

Matthew Argyle - who is now living in the Czech Republic as a youth basketball coach - said he was cleaning the back parking lot of the hotel when he saw McNeill come out with the young girl, and thought he should stay and watch.

Argyle said he said "Hello." McNeill did not answer, but made eye contact. Argyle said he tried to act like he was doing "busy work."

"I just had a feeling I should be watching, like something was amiss, not right," Argyle testified.

Argyle said Shaniya was covered and slumped over McNeill's shoulder. McNeill put her the in back passenger right side seat, got in car, looked around, lit a cigar, pulled up under pavilion to the front of hotel, went in, and later took a left out of the parking lot.

"I did not see the child move," said Argyle, but said he assumed she was alive.

Argyle said he kept incident to himself until the next morning, when the hotel desk received an Amber Alert for Shaniya. He later gave his story to the police and the FBI.

"Have you thought about this incident since then?" asked prosecutor Billy West.

"Every day," Argyle responded.

Prosecutors allege McNeill took the Fayetteville child from her home in the early morning hours of November 10 to rape her before killing her and dumping her body just off N.C. Highway 87 near the Lee-Harnett County line. Searchers finally located the child's remains November 15 after getting a tip on where to look from McNeill's former attorneys.

McNeill is charged with first-degree murder, first-degree rape of a child, first-degree kidnapping, human trafficking with a child victim, sexual servitude with a child victim, sexual offense of a child and indecent liberties with a child charges.

Prosecutors have also charged Shaniya's mother Antoinette Davis with selling her daughter to McNeill to pay a drug debt. Davis hasn't been tried yet.

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