Child's Body Found Close to Where Shaniya Davis Vanished

The body of a child was found today buried close to the town where5-year-old Shaniya Davis disappeared last week.

Shaniya had been missing for nearly a week, and was last seen in a hotel surveillance video being carried by a man who has been charged with kidnapping in the case.

Her mother, Antoinette Davis, 25, appeared in court today on charges of human trafficking and child prostitution.

Fayetteville Police Department spokewoman Theresa Chance said 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 told a news conference.

The body had not yet been removed from the shallow grave where it was discovered. Chance said the Fayetteville police were waiting for "the FBI to help exhume the body."

She said when that was done, police would consult family members to get a positive identification.

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.

Davis showed no emotion during her appearance in Fayetteville District Court today, ABC News affiliate WTVD reported.

Shaniya Case Unusual in That Mom Is Charged With Trafficking, Child Prostitution, Not Dad

"The State of North Carolina alleges that on or about the date of November 10, 2009, that you did get engaged in human trafficking with a child as the victim," Judge Tal Baggett told her. "The other charge of felony child abuse for prostitution is a class E felony. That is 98 months in prison. Do you understand that?"

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.

"It's frightening to learn about the age of entry into prostitution being 12 to 14," he told ABCNews.com today.

In general when parents traffic their own children, the fathers tend to be violent and abusive, while the mothers are typically desperate.

"But no poverty or economic desperation can along explain the prostitution of a child," he said.

While there are no numbers on how many young children are trafficked by their own parents, there are about 100,000 minors trafficked in the United States each year, Logan said.

"Most of them are runaways or throwaways," he said.

Lois Lee, the founder and president of the non-profit Children of the Night, said drugs are often involved when mothers are found to have sold or traded their children.

But the trafficking of a 5-year-old is "very rare," Lee said. "And very rare that they would call it trafficking."

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
null
Danny Martindale/Getty Images
PHOTO: Woman who received lab-grown vagina says she now has normal life.
Metropolitan Autonomous University and Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine
PHOTO:
Redfin | Inset: David Livingston/Getty Images