Return to Transcripts main page
McNeill Charged With Murder, Rape in Death of Shaniya Davis
Aired November 19, 2009 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NANCY GRACE, HOST: Breaking news tonight, live, North Carolina. A little 5-year-old girl vanishes without a trace from the child`s own home. Mommy tells police she left the girl on the sofa 5:30 AM. One hour later, the baby`s gone. How does a 5-year-old girl go missing from her own sofa? The child wearing nothing but a T-shirt and underwear. Shaniya`s favorite blanket found discarded, covered in feces, in the neighbor`s trash.
After grainy surveillance video surfaces of a 29-year-old man carrying the child in a local hotel room, the search for baby Shaniya comes to an end. Police find her little body hidden in dense woods. The man in the video, Mario McNeill, confesses to taking Shaniya to the hotel, but then clams up.
In a heart-wrenching and disgusting twist, Shaniya`s own mother behind bars for selling the little girl for sex. Was 5-year-old Shaniya`s life nothing more than a payment on a drug debt? Reports emerge Mommy owed McNeill money. And speaking of McNeill, why was he walking free, able to the take the little girl in the first place? He`s got a rap sheet a mile long, including shooting several people, one in the head and neck, dope charges, of course, and running over a cop. Why wasn`t he behind bars instead of checking into a hotel with a 5-year-old little girl?
Bombshell tonight. We are waiting for a live press conference. We also learned search warrants just released reveal 11 bags of evidence seized from this man, Mario McNeill`s, car. And tonight, we learn high- tech soil samples may ID the killer. Right now to the presser live.
CHIEF TOM BERGAMINE, FAYETTEVILLE PD: ... while we have worked through a very difficult and complex issue surrounding this case. Second, after careful consideration, it`s been determined that jurisdiction for prosecution of this case will remain in Cumberland County.
At this time, I would like to advise you that earlier this evening, members of the Shaniya Davis task force received confirmation from the state medical examiner`s office on the ruling on the manner of the death of Shaniya Davis as a homicide. The preliminary tests results asphyxiation as the cause of death. However, at this time, all examinations and testing have not been completed. Therefore, a final report has not been issued.
Earlier today, we met with the district attorney, Ed Grannis, Margaret Russ, and after going over some facts of the case, the Fayetteville Police Department will be filing the following charges against Mario McNeill, first degree murder, first degree rape of a child.
The criminal investigation surrounding this unfortunate tragedy continues as the task force follows up on many numerous leads and gathers additional information pertaining to the investigation. As such, in an effort to protect the integrity of the investigation and not jeopardize criminal prosecution of any pending charges, we will not discuss many details of the investigation.
It is our sincere hope that the Davis family may now begin to put this horrific event behind them and begin the healing process. I would like to take a moment to thank Mr. Grannis, Ms. Susan Doyle of the Lee County district attorney`s office, and two gentlemen standing behind me, Captain Charles Kimble and Captain Mark Bridgeman, as they have headed up this task force for the last eight days and will continue to do so until we get where we need to be.
QUESTION: How about Ms. Davis?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re still -- we`re still currently doing an investigation. I have no comment on that.
QUESTION: Can you say what the relationship between Mr. McNeill and Ms. Davis`s sister (INAUDIBLE) the trailer, how all of that fits together?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have no comment on that at this time.
QUESTION: Chief, could you just tell us where the young girl was killed, Fayetteville, Lee County? Have you been able to point that -- tie that down?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Due to the cause of death, that`s a hard point to narrow down right now.
QUESTION: You think it was the motel or out on the field?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, we don`t believe that it was at the hotel.
QUESTION: What do you think the purpose of the 911 call to your offices were -- was some 45 minutes after he took her to the hotel?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, that`s a matter of -- it`s still being under -- being investigated, and we`ve got numerous phone records and messages and things of that nature that we`re currently investigating and going through.
QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) are additional charges going to be fired against Antoinette Davis?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is still an ongoing process, this is an ongoing case, and we`ve got numerous folks from the local, state and federal level working with us on this case.
QUESTION: Are there any additional suspects?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As I said, we`re continuing to investigate. No comment on that at this time.
QUESTION: Chief, are you looking at (INAUDIBLE) in this investigation?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No comment.
QUESTION: Chief, are you looking at the possibility the 911 call was a ruse to hide the fact that the body had been -- the young child had been killed?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m not comment on that at this time.
QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) that in your investigation -- you had said yesterday that it was going down -- one of the avenues you were looking at was that Ms. Davis had let Mr. McNeill take this child in turn for a -- because she owed him a debt, money. Can you say...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The current charges on Ms. Davis are standing as they are right now.
QUESTION: Chief, after McNeill`s was first arrested for kidnapping, your department said that he had admitted to the kidnapping. Has he admitted the murder and the rape, too?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right now, we`re serving warrants on him for that, and we`ve got our two lead detectives serving the warrants on Mr. McNeill at this time. I have no comment on that. And...
QUESTION: Can we get a couple of personal questions, maybe? I know those of us who covered -- the media has covered you guys for a long time. This is probably one of the most horrific cases you`ve had to investigate. What kind of emotional toll has it taken on your officers?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Quite a bit. We`ve -- we`re fortunate in our department. We have some folks, active chaplains, and we`ve been having some grief counseling here in the police department. And I really can`t say enough about the intestinal fortitude and the hard work and everything that`s been done not only by our law enforcement agency, but really, the surrounding law enforcement, rescue. This one has really reached out and touched a lot of folks and...
QUESTION: A tough one for your guys.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely. And I got to tell you, these two guys standing behind me, they did a fantastic job.
QUESTION: Could we get some thoughts from the two gentlemen (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely.
QUESTION: ... (INAUDIBLE) in terms of how tough it`s been.
QUESTION: Give us your name, if you don`t mind, too, sir.
CPT. CHARLES KIMBLE, FAYETTEVILLE POLICE DEPARTMENT: Captain Charles Kimble.
QUESTION: And your thoughts on this case and how tough it`s been for you and fellow officers?
KIMBLE: It`s been a tough case. A lot of the people on the task force here, the police department, we have children, so we can relate to some of the -- how tough it is going day to day, going home, looking at our children and knowing what happened to Shaniya. We know it was a tragedy. But you know, we remain professional, and we knew we had a job to do and we did it.
QUESTION: On a personal level (INAUDIBLE) what was the hardest part (INAUDIBLE) from day on?
KIMBLE: We had a mission. Our mission was to find Shaniya, and we did.
QUESTION: We talked to some of your officers who said they cried.
KIMBLE: It was tough. It was tough. That`s a reality.
QUESTION: Toughest case you`ve been on?
KIMBLE: Yes, it has.
QUESTION: How long have you been on the force?
KIMBLE: I`ve been here 14 years.
CAPT. MARK BRIDGEMAN, FAYETTEVILLE POLICE DEPARTMENT: Good evening. Mark Bridgeman. Been on the job here 23 -- or correction, 22-and-a-half years. I don`t want to advance myself any further than I have. Tough case. Had no idea -- I led the -- worked with Lee County emergency management services and had no idea how many people became emotionally attached to this case. Captain Kimble and I attended a critical incident stress debriefing the night before last, and it got really emotional for not only us, but for the search teams, the EMS, everybody involved. And it`s still emotional. It`s still up and down. So you know, it`s one of those things -- the hardest thing I`ve ever had to do in my career, so -- and I`ve seen a lot of stuff.
QUESTION: Why do you think this is getting under your skin and everybody else`s skin?
BRIDGEMAN: That`s a really good question. Probably the -- you know, the loss of the innocent.
QUESTION: Do you know -- have you determined if this is part of some type of -- the human trafficking charge (INAUDIBLE) speculated that maybe there`s some kind of human trafficking ring and operation in this area?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s -- I`m not going to comment on that.
QUESTION: Personally, as a veteran lawman, I mean, you`ve been on some tough, tough cases before.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sure.
QUESTION: What was going through your mind when you looked at Mario McNeill and you realized he raped and murdered that little girl?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, you have to remain professional, no doubt. You know, it`s just -- you know, you can`t figure out why. You know, in this job, you know, we respond. We don`t create these situations, we react to them. And it`s -- you know, you could drive yourself crazy trying to figure out why would somebody do this to an innocent girl. You know, the best thing we could do is work with the professional law enforcement community, you know, the DA`s office and bring Mr. McNeill and Ms. Davis to swift and certain justice.
QUESTION: We had heard that you guys fought tooth and nail to have this case tried here in Fayetteville.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chuck was working with that with Mr. Grannis`s office.
KIMBLE: Greg, I got to tell you something. We had conversations the last day or two with Mr. Grannis and his staff, Ms. Doyle and her staff. And I`ve got to tell you, just fine leadership, fine leadership. And you know what? There was no fighting, nothing like that, true professionalism. And I think, as Mark stated, you know, this case here has reached out and touched all of us. And I just can`t say enough good things about the leadership from those -- from those folks.
QUESTION: Well, I didn`t mean you were all fighting tooth -- but I mean...
QUESTION: How bad did you want this case (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, let`s just say I think, from our perspective, and I can please -- I can speak for these folks and the task force folks, we started it from the beginning and we wanted to finish it out.
QUESTION: What would you say -- one last comment to the folks in Fayetteville about this whole ordeal, this whole tragedy?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I was asked a question yesterday. You know, there`s a lot of causes of crime out here in the community. There`s not really one big answer to alleviate crime. But I got to tell you, I think really now is the time for finger-pointing, arguing, things like that, to stop. And collectively, as a city, as a county, as a community, we`ve got to really work hard at looking at the issues, be able to look each other in the eyes, tell us the truth and really get down to solving a lot of these social problems that get us in these situations that we get in, and you know, keep us busy and keep you guys busy. And you know, to me and to this department, that`s real important. That`s very important.
QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) the legal system (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Probably tomorrow morning. It would be a first appearance. Or tomorrow some time. OK, folks, thank you very much. I do appreciate it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you all for coming out. And just a reminder, as this is an ongoing investigation, there is no interviews will be granted, and we`ll put out a press release...
GRACE: You are seeing the end of a Fayetteville Police Department press conference announcing murder one charges against Mario McNeill, pictured there on your screen, in the murder -- we now know cause of death asphyxiation -- the strangling or suffocation death of 5-year-old Shaniya. Also tonight, the bombshell, rape charges on this child also leveled against McNeill. Right now, police are not saying whether the mother, who allegedly handed her child over for child prostitution to this man -- there she is, Antoinette Davis -- whether she will also be charged with murder. But they are very carefully stating this is an ongoing investigation.
We are taking your calls live, and we`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Members of the Shaniya Davis task force received confirmation from the state medical`s examiner`s office on the ruling on the manner of the death of Shaniya Davis as a homicide. The preliminary tests results asphyxiation as the cause of death. However, at this time, all examinations and testing have not been completed. Therefore, a final report has not been issued.
We met with the district attorney, Ed Grannis, Margaret Russ, and after going over some facts of the case, the Fayetteville Police Department will be filing the following charges against Mario McNeill, first degree murder, first degree rape of a child.
The criminal investigation surrounding this unfortunate tragedy continues as the task force follows up on many numerous leads and gathers additional information pertaining to the investigation. As such, in an effort to protect the integrity of the investigation and not jeopardize the criminal prosecution of any pending charges, we will not discuss many details of the investigation.
It is our sincere hope that the Davis family may begin to put this horrific event behind them and begin the healing process.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: That is chief of police, Fayetteville, North Carolina, Tom Bergamine. We have just brought you out of a live press conference that is going on right now. It has just ended. The chief of police has announced that formal charges have been filed against Mario McNeill, the 29-year-old man pictured in a hotel video with 5-year-old Shaniya Davis. We now know he is charged with first degree murder and the rape of this child, this 5- year-old little girl.
My question tonight is, why isn`t Mommy charged with murder one? According to police reports, she`s the one who handed the child over to this killer.
We are taking your calls live. To Jean Casarez joining us. Jean, what can you tell me? What will it take for a charge on Mommy?
JEAN CASAREZ, IN SESSION (via telephone): Well, she can definitely be charged under North Carolina law if she was an accessory before the fact, an accessory after the fact, a conspiracy situation. She doesn`t have to have been actively involved in killing the child.
GRACE: Jean Casarez, please! I don`t want to hear any legal talk. Break it down. She handed her child over to a killer, for Pete`s sake!
CASAREZ: And we have to look at her knowledge. What did she know?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ve met with the district attorney, Ed Grannis, Margaret Russ, and after going over some facts of the case, the Fayetteville Police Department will be filing the following charges against Mario McNeill, first degree murder, first degree rape of a child.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: We are live there in North Carolina, where police have just announced murder one charges against 29-year-old Mario Andrette McNeill, the man that we have been showing you hotel surveillance video in which he is carrying this 5-year-old little girl down a hall to a hotel room in which they stayed a little over an hour. There she is. That`s the last known photo of this child alive, in the arms of her alleged killer. Also, charges tonight of child rape on this little girl. Stunningly, no murder charges against the mother, yet. The chief of police says this is an open investigation.
We are taking your calls live. Out to our first call. Tanya, Ohio. Hi, Tanya.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. I have a question and a comment. First I`d like to say shame on these people that are coming forward now and saying, Oh, well, we saw cigarette burns and all this on this poor little girl and did not get involved and say -- you know, call the authorities or say something.
Also my question is, this mother was probably on Welfare or some kind of Aid to Dependent Children. Why is there not a law in place for these Welfare mothers? Why don`t they have to take a drug test before they get a check, and maybe some of this can be prevented and get these children out of these homes where they`re being abused and neglected because of drugs?
GRACE: Tanya in Ohio, you are so right. Before we hand over our tax money, OK, I would like to see a drug test run, as well. Now, this mother, Antoinette Davis, had held down a job for about six months. That`s the first I`ve known of her working. I also know, according to our sources, that drugs were being sold out of the home. McNeill had drug charges. We know tonight homicide, asphyxiation. That could be ligature, manual strangulation or smothering. We also know toxicology testing not complete.
Let`s go straight out to Mike Brooks, former fed with the FBI. Weigh in, Mike. What does it say to you? Why no charges against Mommy tonight?
MIKE BROOKS, FORMER D.C. POLICE, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: I think they`re waiting to put together the charges on her, Nancy, because most likely, it`ll be first degree murder. And there`s a possibility she could face federal charges because of the human trafficking. She`s...
GRACE: Mike Brooks, I can only pray that she gets the same fate as Mario McNeill!
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM BERGAMINE, FAYETTEVILLE POLICE CHIEF: Members of the Shaniya Davis Task Force received confirmation from the state medical examiner`s office on the ruling -- on the manner of the death of Shaniya Davis as a homicide.
The preliminary tests results asphyxiation as the cause of death. However this time, all examinations and testing have not been completed. Therefore, a final report has not been issued.
We met with the District Attorney Ed Grantis and Margaret Russ. And after going over some facts of the case, the Fayetteville Police Department will be filing the following charges against Mario McNeill -- first-degree murder, first-degree rape of a child.
The criminal investigation`s surrounding this unfortunate tragedy continues as the task force follows up on many numerous leads and gathers additional information pertaining to the investigation.
As such in an effort to protect the integrity of the investigation and not jeopardize the criminal prosecution of any pending charges, we will not discuss many details of the investigation.
It is our sincere hope that the Davis family may now begin to put this horrific event behind them and begin the healing process.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Miss Davis had let Mr. McNeill take this child in turn for -- because she owed him a debt, money. Can you say.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The current charges on Miss Davis are standing as they are right now.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: OK.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Chief, after McNeill`s first arrested for kidnapping, your department said that he admitted the kidnapping. Has he admitted the murder and the rape, too?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right now we`re serving warrants on him for that and we`ve got our two lead detectives serving warrants on Mr. McNeill at this time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NANCY GRACE, HOST: As we go to air, murder one warrants being served on 29-year-old Mario Adrette McNeill. The man that we have been showing you carrying little 5-year-old Shaniya Davis into a local hotel room. Stayed a little over an hour and left with her still alive.
Her body found in a densely wooded area. We now know, as in the last few moments, cause of death is asphyxiation. We also know testing not complete. Was the child drugged or poisoned in any way? Was she fed drugs or alcohol? We are waiting to find out.
We also know that this man, Mario Adrette McNeill, he`s got a wrap sheet as long as the interstate, is now charged with child rape on this 5- year-old little girl.
We heard the chief of police, Tom Bergamine, tell us that right now the charges against mommy stand as they are. She has not been charged with murder, yet. However, many of us in law enforcement believe that those charges may very well come.
We are taking your calls live. First, unleash the lawyers. Joining us out of New York, defense attorney, Joey Jackson. Out of Atlanta, defense attorney, Randy Kessler.
Welcome, gentlemen. Kessler, why no murder charge on mommy? She handed her child over, according to charges, for this child to be put into prostitution. A 5-year-old girl, Kessler. That`s a felony. This is a felony murder.
She, according to police, committed a murder and a death occurred. She didn`t have to plan the murder for her to be charged with felony murder.
RANDY KESSLER, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It`s coming. And I can`t imagine that they`re thinking maybe there`s a state`s evidence, maybe she`s going to have something because they don`t have McNeill good enough. It sounds like they`ve got locked in.
GRACE: They don`t need her. Whoa, put Kessler back up.
KESSLER: I agree.
GRACE: Kessler, you`ve tried plenty of cases. They don`t need this mom`s "cooperation." I think she`s done plenty. They don`t need her to role over on McNeill.
KESSLER: I agree. I hope that`s not they way -- but maybe they`re hoping she`ll be desperate enough to start talking, talking, talking, hoping she`s going to get a deal. And then she`s charged.
GRACE: You know what?
JOEY JACKSON, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: They don`t need her I agree.
GRACE: You know what? I`m hearing too much talking. Joe -- Joe Jackson, I do agree with something that Kessler just said. They don`t need mommy`s cooperation to prove this case.
Listen. Listen, Jackson. Listen to what they`ve got. They took 11 bags of evidence out of Mario Adrette McNeill`s car. They took fingerprints. They found child`s blankets. They got DNA.
Come on, he`s already confessed to the kidnapping.
JACKSON: OK. No.
GRACE: He`s now charged with murder one and she handed the baby over for sex. A 5 year -- do you have a child, Joe Jackson?
JACKSON: I certainly do. One who I love very much.
GRACE: Age, age?
JACKSON: 11 years old.
GRACE: Can you even imagine.
JACKSON: Not at all.
GRACE: . handing your baby over to this -- this -- let me just say, freak.
GRACE: He already had charges of shooting three people. One in the neck and head. Drug charges. He ran over.
JACKSON: But here`s the problem, Nancy.
GRACE: . runs over a cop and she gives her baby to him.
JACKSON: But Nancy, here`s the problem. The problem is that it`s not necessarily that she knew what this person`s background was.
GRACE: She doesn`t have to.
JACKSON: So the fact.
GRACE: Doesn`t have to. She knew.
JACKSON: I know. But look.
GRACE: He dated her sister.
JACKSON: We all would believe and we all would hope that there are responsible people amongst us. Oftentimes there`s not.
GRACE: Put Jackson back up. Put him up. Put him up. Put him up.
JACKSON: So listen.
GRACE: Mr. Jackson, where did you go to law school?
JACKSON: The big H, Hofstra.
JACKSON: The Harvard of Long Island.
GRACE: Mr. Jackson, as in a felony murder, if you can imagine this scenario.
GRACE: Just imagine you and Mr. Kessler going into a bank to rob it.
GRACE: You don`t plan to kill anybody but Kessler pulls his gun and guns down a bank teller. You, sir, can be charged with felony murder.
JACKSON: OK, listen.
GRACE: Is that correct?
JACKSON: It`s absolutely correct but here`s the.
GRACE: Then that same principle applies here, does it not.
JACKSON: It would apply if the facts support your theory, Nancy. And here`s what I`m saying.
JACKSON: First of all that they say that there`s a kidnapping, we don`t know. It is an ongoing investigation. Maybe if this was for a debt, she said listen, hold on to my child. I swear I`ll pay you. I`ll do what I have to do.
GRACE: What? What? Put him back up. Put him back up.
JACKSON: So the fact of the matter is, is that maybe she didn`t have ill intent. Maybe it was not that, listen, you know, I mean no -- she could be accused of bad judgment. Her judgment was misplaced. She`s certainly ignorant in doing anything like that but to have the requisite intent and to suggest that she was giving her child and that it was going to -- it was a kidnapping and she`s a murderer, I think that`s misplaced. And we have to understand that.
GRACE: No, that`s not my theory at all. You have completely misinterpreted it. And misrepeated it for your own purposes.
To Dr. Bethany Marshall. Here is what I know. Police have charged the mother, Antoinette Davis, with handing her baby over to be raped for child prostitution. We know that is police theory.
If she did that, that is a felony. If a death occurred, she is guilty of felony murder. Does it make sense to you, Bethany?
BETHANY MARSHALL, PSYCHOANALYST, AUTHOR OF "DEALBREAKERS": Well -- and this may not had been to pay back a drug debt. Maybe she manipulated the baby`s daddy so that she could gain control of the child because someone made her believe she could make thousands of dollars off of selling her child.
Or worse yet, perhaps she wanted to abuse the little boy -- the little girl along with Mario. Perhaps this poor little girl was sodomized and that`s why there was feces on the door handle and on the railing.
GRACE: And that is more of the evidence that we have tonight as the evidence unfolds, we learned 11 bags, 11 bags of evidence, taken out of Mario McNeill`s car alone. How much was taken out of the mother`s home? We know DNA, fingerprints, children`s blankets.
We know that feces, likely this child`s, was smeared on the door handle and the railing going along the front porch. That`s what we know about the evidence so far. We know this child died of asphyxiation and her body without pants was found in a densely wooded area.
I want to go to special guest Marc Klaas, president and founder of KlaasKids Foundation. Marc, our worst fears have been confirmed tonight.
MARC KLAAS, PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER, KLAASKIDS FOUNDATION: They certainly have, Nancy. And I think the question I have -- well, it`s not even a question. Listen, if the fundamental duty of government is public safety, then government has failed the citizens of North Carolina.
Mario McNeill has a heinous, vial and violent criminal history that extends back to the new millennium. Yet she was allowed on the streets of what is called unsupervised probation.
Now the state`s spokesman say, well, he`s fulfilled his obligation to the state. He`s been a good prisoner. But the reality is that the state has failed in its obligation to the citizens of North Carolina and more specifically to the Davis family and Shaniya Davis.
In California we have a very controversial law called the three strikes law that draws a line in the sand. And it says that if you cannot abide by the rules of government of law, then you will spend the rest of your life in prison. And that`s where this guy should had been a long time ago.
GRACE: Everyone, we`ll all be right back. We`re bringing you the very latest from North Carolina, as felony murder charges handed down against Mario McNeill in the death and the rape of 5-year-old Shaniya Davis.
But as we go to break, there is happiness. Here`s the NG family album. Believe me after a case like this, I`m going to go home and love these twins. I hope I don`t wake them up. Here they are. This is shortly after their birth in New York.
And now family photos of our show friends, Colorado friends, Barbara, Sheryl. Best friends since high school. They never miss a show. Florida friends, Brian and Francis. Here they are at spring vacation at a park on the Kentucky side of the Ohio river.
ANNOUNCER: "Nancy`s Family Album" brought to you by.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BERGAMINE: We met with the district attorney, Ed Grantis and Margaret Russ. And after going over some facts of the case, the Fayetteville Police Department will be filing the following charges against Mario McNeill -- first-degree murder, first-degree rape of a child.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Could you just tell us where the young girl was killed? Fayetteville? Lee County? Have you been able to point that - - narrow that down?
BERGAMINE: Due to the cause of death, that`s a hard point to narrow down right now.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: You think it was at the motel or out in the field.
BERGAMINE: No, we don`t believe that it was at the hotel. I really can`t say enough about the intestinal fortitude and the hard work and everything that`s been done. Not only by all of law enforcement agency but, really, the surrounding law enforcement, rescue. This one has really reached out and touched a lot of folks.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: A tough one for your guys?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: That is a live presser we just brought you out of North Carolina. Murder one charges handed down against Mario McNeill. There he is, 29 years old. The one in the orange jumpsuit for the murder of this beautiful little 5-year-old little girl Shaniya.
Also charged with child rape. Mommy behind bars. But only on pimping the child out, putting her into human trafficking, as of yet she`s not charged with murder. We`re waiting for that charge to come down.
Let`s go out to the lines, Jean, Ohio. Hi, Jean.
JEAN, CALLER FROM OHIO: Hi, Nancy.
GRACE: Hi, dear, what`s your question?
JEAN: First off, your babies are so cute.
GRACE: I am so blessed.
JEAN: You are and you`re an angel. You are an angel.
GRACE: And I`ve got to tell you, it makes it very, very difficult to cover stories like what has happened to little Shaniya.
JEAN: I know. I know.
GRACE: Because of everything that I can do not to jump out of this chair and not to run al the way home. What`s your question, love?
JEAN: OK. Yes, do you know if the father will be looking into any kind of charges on children`s services or the schools for, you know.
GRACE: Excellent question. To the lawyers, Randy Kessler, Joey Jackson. The problem with that is DFCS is an arm of the government. And under (INAUDIBLE) of immunity the legal theory, the king can do no wrong, it`s going to be difficult to prove anything against DFCS, although once again they dropped the ball miserably.
What about it, Kessler?
KESSLER: It sounds like they did. But you know these are the kind of cases that haunt family court judges. You know, some cases are, both parents are fighting for custody. It sounds like this is the case of, no, you take the child. No, you take child. I mean the father, how many fathers would love to have their right to have the child live with him and he gave the child to her and look what happened. He`s responsible for something.
GRACE: Only for a brief time. She was only there for about five weeks while he was out of town working.
Everybody, we`re taking your calls live. I want to go out to Marlaina Schiavo. Our producer on the story.
Marlaina, what are your sources telling you about the possibility of charges on the mother? This case is so disturbing the police force has to call in grief counselors and chaplains after finding this little girl`s body.
MARLAINA SCHIAVO, NANCY GRACE PRODUCER, COVERING STORY: Well, Nancy, as we heard tonight, they are -- there are still pending charges in this case. And we would imagine that that`s going to be against the mother. But also today when I spoke to the public defender`s office, we were talking about -- they said that right now she`s being defended by an attorney that they assigned.
But if and when murder one charges come her way, they`re going to send her case over to Raleigh, where the capital defender`s office is. So we could possibly see charges coming her way quite soon.
GRACE: Joining me right now out of the Sleepy Hollow neighborhood, Barbara Davenport. She actually rented this home to Antoinette Davis` sister.
Miss Davenport, thank you for being with us.
BARBARA DAVENPORT, SLEEPY HOLLOW MOBILE PARK MANAGER, RENTED HOME TO DAVIS` SISTER: Hi. Thank you for having me, Nancy.
GRACE: Miss Davenport, I know all of this has been a real shock. It`s always so disturbing when you find out somebody right down the street has done something like this, allegedly.
What do you know about how the child was being kept in the home? Did they stay to themselves? It`s my understanding from our sources the home was a pigsty.
DAVENPORT: It was an absolute pigsty. In fact, that evidence was used against Brenda Davis in court this morning.
GRACE: Oh, really, tell me about that, Miss Davenport.
DAVENPORT: Well, I filed eviction papers on Miss Davis. The decision had been made toward the end of October that she was going to be evicted. We were waiting to see if she was going to pay her rent or if we were just going to have to cancel her lease. And as it turned out, she did not pay her rent.
GRACE: What were the conditions that the child was living in?
DAVENPORT: Pigsty. Absolute pigsty.
GRACE: You know what?
DAVENPORT: That is why the police would not let them go back into the home.
GRACE: You know some people do not deserve the blessing of children. I waited 47 years before I got to have the twins. And they have been such a blessing.
DAVENPORT: And those babies are blessed to have you as a mother.
GRACE: And Miss Davenport, the way that they were -- the conditions - - I don`t care about not having a lot of money. I grew up and our family didn`t have a lot of money.
DAVENPORT: You know, you can be poor and clean.
GRACE: To have a child living in those conditions and then to hand her over to the man that rapes and kills her, according to police.
Matt Zarrell, what more can you tell me about the investigation? It speaks very strongly that the police had to call in grief counselors and chaplains.
MATT ZARRELL, NANCY GRACE STAFFER, COVERING STORY: Yes, it does Nancy. Now what I can tell you is that McNeill is being held on no bond. And what could be a key to this case is soil samples. They took soil samples from the exterior of his car and we don`t know if it matched but it`s possible they could link it to the crime scene where Shaniya`s body was found, Nancy.
GRACE: You know, Matt Zarrell, that`s an excellent point I overlooked after listening to the press conference.
I want to go to Dr. Titus Duncan at the Atlanta Medical Center. Dr. Duncan, thank you for being with us. The fact that they could actually get soil out of the car to possibly match it up to the crime scene is incredible. When autopsies are performed you have to be so careful to get every scrap of evidence, even dirt. Dirt could crack this case.
DR. TITUS DUNCAN, ATLANTA MEDICAL CENTER: Right. There are a lot of evidence that you can actually get from the crime scene. You can get saliva, you can get semen, you can get blood, you can get a lot of things that can actually tell you in some sort or form of fashion, is this person really related to the crime?
And for the most part these kind of DNA specimens will be very, very valuable when they get them and that`s probably what the police actually have that they`re looking at that has actually given them some evidence that he has probably got.
GRACE: It`s amazing to me, Dr. Titus Duncan, that dirt could actually identify the killer.
Everybody, we`re taking your calls live. But I want to wish a very happy birthday to California friend of the show, Paul Ketty. Loves writing, animals, riding pogo sticks. Favorite book, "Eleventh Victim." OK, you got me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BERGAMINE: We met with the district attorney, Ed Granice, Margaret Russ. And after going over some facts of the case the Fayetteville Police Department will be filing the following charges against Mario McNeill -- first-degree murder, first degree rape of a child.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Breaking news. We are live in North Carolina, where murder one charges have just been announced by chief of police, Tom Bergamine. Charges against this man, 29-year-old Mario Andrette McNeill. There he is photographed with 5-year-old Shaniya Davis taking her into a hotel room after her mother hands her over to him.
We are taking your calls live, let`s go out to Shirley, Iowa. Hi, Shirley.
SHIRLEY, CALLER FROM IOWA: Hello, Nancy.
GRACE: Hi, dear, what`s your question?
SHIRLEY: Do you think the mother will get the same charges as the guy? In my opinion I think she needs to. Because that is so sad about that.
GRACE: Shirley in Iowa, we can only pray that she meets the same fate as Mario McNeill. And I`ve laid out the legal theory for the lawyers, for the prosecutors, in case they`re listening, not that they need it. Granice and Russ have excellent reputation as prosecutors.
Out to Christine, Alabama, hi.
CHRISTINE, CALLER FROM ALABAMA: Hi, how are you?
GRACE: I`m good, dear, what`s your question?
CHRISTINE: Well, I was just wondering, have they laid out, like, a timeline as far as how long or if the mother knew, had already known that Shaniya.
GRACE: OK, hold on, Christine. If the mother knew what?
CHRISTINE: If the mother had already known. Did she have any idea?
GRACE: Idea of what? An idea of what?
CHRISTINE: That her daughter had already been murdered by this man that she handed him over to.
GRACE: OK. At the time she called police, Christine, it`s my understanding they were already checking into the hotel, the child was not dead yet. But the question would be, did she intend to hand the child over for prostitution, if so, that is a felony -- and a death occurred. That is felony murder, Christine in Alabama.
Everyone, let`s stop and remember Army Sergeant Spencer Akers, 35, Traverse City, Michigan. From a family of military vets, awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. On a second tour. Loved Army, helping others, e-mailing parents every day. Dreamed of being a state trooper. Leaves behind parents Carol and Don, sister Janine.
Spencer Akers, American hero.
Thanks to our guests and most of all to you for being with us. And tonight, our prayers to heaven for little Shaniya.
I`ll see you tomorrow night 8:00 sharp Eastern and until then, good night, friend.