A man already accused of kidnapping a 5-year-old North Carolina girl faces new charges that he raped and asphyxiated her, police said Thursday.
Mario McNeill is being charged with first-degree murder and first-degree rape of a child, Fayetteville Police Chief Tom Bergamine told reporters at a news conference.
The 29-year-old McNeill was charged earlier this week with kidnapping, with authorities saying he took Shaniya Davis from her Fayetteville home. Her body was found Monday in thick underbrush off a rural North Carolina road after searchers spent nearly a week looking for her.
Bergamine gave few further details of the investigation Thursday. Earlier in the week, authorities said McNeill admitted taking the girl, but the chief did not say whether McNeill admitted to the child’s death.
A search warrant says McNeill picked the girl up in front of the home and drove her to a hotel where she was last seen alive. Surveillance video captured McNeil carrying the girl in the building.
Police issued the warrant containing the new charges against McNeill after they collected hair and fibers, clothes, and a straw from his 1997 Mitsubishi Galant.
[Editors Note: The earlier story, “Girl, 5, Sold Into Prostitution by Her Own Mother Hunted by U.S. Police,” can be read here.]