The announcement was expected, yet it still had a funereal sadness when a medical examiner confirmed today that a body found in the woods was that of missing 5-year-old Shaniya Davis.
At the same time, Fayetteville police said they had "new information" about the case, prompting them to cancel a news conference scheduled for lthis afternoon. Police did say that additional charges are expected to be filed in the case.
The autopsy was to be performed in Chapel Hill at the North Carolina Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, a spokeswoman told ABCNews.com today. Police said a cause of death had not yet been determined.
A spokeswoman from the FBI's Charlotte office confirmed the FBI had been called into support the local authorities, but would not comment on when they were contacted and why North Carolina officials waited for the FBI to arrive before removing Shaniya's body from the scene.
Shaniya's mother, 25-year-old Antoinette Davis was charged over the weekend with human trafficking and child prostitution. She appeared in court Monday where the judge told her she faced a possible 98 months in prison. That was before the child's body was found.
Another man, Mario McNeill, who police say was seen on a surveillance video carrying Shaniya into a Sanford, N.C., hotel shortly after she disappeared last week. He has been charged with first-degree kidnapping and is being held on $100,000 bond.
Police today said they believe Shaniya was alive when she left the hotel.
Hundreds of people attended a vigil for Shaniya Monday night, including her distraught father, Bradley Lockhart.
"I ask you to give me and everyone who loved poor Shaniya -- my little baby, my angel -- the strength to continue on," Lockhart told the crowd, according to Raleigh's ABC affiliate WTVD.
A Facebook page set up in her honor, Pray for Shaniya Nicole Davis, had more than 5,500 fans this morning.
"My heart goes out to Shaniya's family. May her soul rest in peace!" one woman wrote. "How could someone be so cruel? R.I.P."
Fayetteville Police Department spokewoman Theresa Chance said Monday the child's body was discovered in a wooded area off of Interstate 87 near Sanford, N.C.
Chance declined to say that body was that of Shaniya, saying only, "It seems to be a child."
"We have no positive identification yet," Chance said.
Police found the body through "information from a credible source and that is what led us to Walker Road," where the child's remains were buried amid a thick tangle of brush, downed branches and trees.
Authorities had been working around the clock trying to bring the little girl to safety, Chance said.
"This is very hard on the officers," she said. "They have their own small children. Everyone thinks 'What if this was my child?'"
"Everyone is very tired, very tired and worn out," she said.
Antoinette Davis' aunt Yvonne Mitchell told WTVD that she and other family members don't believe the woman is guilty and said there were no signs Shaniya was in danger with her mother.
"I didn't see any. Every time I seen her, the kids were happy. She seemed happy," Mitchell told WTVD. "If there was anything wrong, it was being hid very good because I didn't notice it."
Mark Logan, executive and director of the Polaris Project and the former U.S. ambassador to combat human trafficking, called the cases of parents pimping or selling their own children "extreme," especially when they are very young.