FAYETTEVILLE — Police investigating the disappearance of 5-year-old Shaniya Davis found explicit pictures of a child on a phone belonging to the suspect in the child's murder, according to unsealed court documents.
Mario Andrette McNeil's phone was seized by police after his arrest Nov. 19, the warrants say. The Fayetteville man is charged with kidnapping, raping and murdering Shaniya.
Search warrants in the case were unsealed this week by a Cumberland County Superior Court judge. According to an affidavit attached to one warrant, Detective Jason Sondergaard "observed photographs of a sexually explicit nature, and some of the photographs appeared to be that of a female juvenile under 10 years of age."
The warrant says Sondergaard contacted a doctor who specializes in developmental and forensic pediatrics to help identify the approximate age of the girl in the photographs. A precise age could not be determined, but the doctor confirmed that the explicit photos were of a young black girl.
Shaniya, who was black, was reported missing Nov. 10 by her mother, who lived in a trailer park off Murchison Road. Video footage from a Sanford motel showed McNeil carrying the child into the motel on the morning she disappeared.
Shaniya's body was found Nov. 16 in woods near Sanford. Her mother has been charged with human trafficking and child abuse involving prostitution.
Senior Resident Superior Court Judge E. Lynn Johnson ordered nine search warrants unsealed Monday. The documents had been sealed since mid-November at the request of Fayetteville police, who thought the information could compromise the investigation.
The warrants covered searches of cameras and computers belonging to McNeil and Shaniya's mother, Antoinette Davis, along with searches of McNeil's home, two cell phones, a GPS system and two searches of Davis' trailer on Sleepy Hollow Drive.
Davis, 25, and McNeil, 29, are being held in a state prison in Raleigh until their trials.