Report finds warning signs missed in case of Shaniya Davis, who was slain

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — For many the loss of little toddler Mariah Woods this weekend is a sad reminder that we’ve been here before.

Most notably, eight years ago when a 5-year-old girl named Shaniya Davis was reported missing by her mother in Fayetteville.

Six days later the lawyer for the man eventually convicted of murdering her would point searchers to a remote wooded area where her body had been disposed of.

It would later be revealed that Shaniya’s mother sold the little girl to her killer to pay off a $200 debt.

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But even though Shaniya was killed in 2009 and the trial was over by 2013, we are only just getting a look at the state’s report into the case.

The report calls out county law enforcement, the school district, and the Department of Social Services, for missing red flags that it says all stemmed from the little girl’s mobile home.

The report states Shaniya Davis was abused before she was eventually sold for drugs, raped, and killed.

Family and witnesses say they saw signs of abuse eight years ago.

“She had burns on her legs, arms and things,” said Byron Coleman, a witness in 2009.

“She had a cigarette burn on the corner of her eye — she said her grandma did when she went over there,” said Cheyenne Lockhart, Shaniya’s half-sister in 2009.

It’s the abuse that eventually turned into Shaniya Davis’ death in 2009.

Police say her mother sold the girl for drugs, she was then raped and killed.

“To me, Shaniya would be alive today if she wasn’t placed in that situation,” said Coleman.

But according to a new report, the very agencies that help pull kids from abusive situations may have missed the warnings in Shaniya’s case.

The report was just finished from the North Carolina Department of Health and Services.

The report says law enforcement conducted a drug raid at Shaniya’s parent’s house, but the report states officers never contacted child protective services.

The report also says school leaders had concerns about her family, but at the time, documents show they too never reported it.

The Department of Social Services would eventually get involved, but the report states the case was closed in 2007.

Shaniya Davis was killed two years later in 2009.

Since then the Cumberland County DSS director says they’ve made changes.

She says in a statement that the changes started before the state’s review. She says DSS has worked with staff and community partners to improve service.

School leaders say they’ve made changes too, but CSB North Carolina is still waiting to hear what those are.

Fayetteville police did not respond to a request for comment, but the sheriff’s department says they always report suspicions of child abuse.

 

It took the state three years to come out with the report,  but it says there’s no way to tell whether it could’ve changed what happened to Shaniya Davis

CBS North Carolina has not heard back from Shaniya’s family about the report.

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