McNeill charged with rape, murder

FAYETTEVILLE Fayetteville Police Chief Tom Bergamine said during a press conference that officials have ruled Davis' death as a homicide.

The 5-year-old disappeared last Tuesday from her Fayetteville home. Her body was found days later in a wooded area south of Sanford in Lee County.

Preliminary reports reveal that she most likely died of asphyxiation, but testing has not yet been completed so a final autopsy report has not been released.

Police say they do not believe Davis was killed at the Sanford hotel where she was last spotted on surveillance video with McNeill -- the same morning her mother reported her missing.

McNeill is now charged with first-degree murder and first-degree rape of a child. He was already charged with kidnapping Davis. McNeill is currently being held in the Cumberland County Detention Center under no bond.

He is expected to face a judge on those charges Friday.

Shaniya's mother 25-year-old Antoinette Davis is also in jail on charges of prostituting her daughter.

Early Thursday, it was revealed that Cumberland County District Attorney Ed Grannis will take jurisdiction in the Shaniya Davis case.

"It is out of sincere hope that the Davis family may now put this horrific event behind them and begin the healing process," Bergamine said.

The investigation is on-going, therefore officials say they are not releasing further details about the case at this time.

Meanwhile, dozens held a memorial Thursday night at the Sleepy Hollow Mobile Home Park, where Shaniya lived with her mother.

Mourners sang and prayed as tears welled up in their eyes.

"I just feel so badly for the family, and I hope they know she's in a better place and will never have to hurt again," mourner Katie McCain said.

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