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Police await positive ID on girl's body found in North Carolina

By Gabriel Falcon, CNN
Shaniya Davis, 5, was reported missing last week. Authorities have found a body they believe is hers.
Shaniya Davis, 5, was reported missing last week. Authorities have found a body they believe is hers.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Police await positive identification of girl's body, which is yet to be exhumed
  • Searchers at scene "torn up" after body's discovery, official says
  • Mother Antoinette Nicole Davis faces human trafficking, other charges
  • Daughter Shaniya Davis, 5, reported missing last week

Watch full coverage on the case of Shaniya Davis -- including an interview with her half sister, 17-year-old Cheyenne Lockhart -- on HLN's "Nancy Grace" at 10 p.m. ET Monday.

(CNN) -- A body believed to be that of a missing 5-year-old girl has been found in North Carolina, police said Monday.

Theresa Chance, public information officer of the Fayetteville Police Department, confirmed to CNN the girl's body was found. In a separate e-mail to CNN, Fayetteville police said the body found was that of the missing girl.

Later Monday, Chance told a news conference that police were still awaiting positive identification of the body, which had yet to be exhumed. The body would then be sent to the medical examiner's office to determine a cause of death, Chance said.

About 200 people had been searching for the body of Shaniya Davis after "reliable information" indicated that she may be dead, according to Fayetteville police.

The body was located by searchers shortly after 1 p.m., Chance told reporters. People at the scene, including searchers and police officers, were "torn up," she said.

The search focused on land near a roadway because "reliable information received that the body of Shaniya Davis may have been dumped there," a police statement said.

Investigators have been searching for Shaniya for several days.

Video: Child's body found
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Police have charged her mother, Antoinette Nicole Davis, with trafficking and other offenses, authorities said. Davis was "prostituting her child," said Chance.

The girl's half sister, Cheyenne Lockhart, told HLN's "Nancy Grace" that she found it difficult to believe Davis had treated her daughter so poorly.

"She seemed like the sweetest woman. She didn't come from much, but ... she had the sweetest voice, she had the sweetest personality, and especially toward me. I would never think that she would do anything like that," said Lockhart, who shared a father with Shaniya.

Lockhart had similar sentiments about the little girl.

"She's so loving and caring, she's always happy and giggling," she said. "Like you would never think anybody would do that to her. She's just the sweetest little girl."

Other charges against Davis include felony child abuse and prostitution, as well as filing a false police report, according to the police department.

The girl's mother told police that the girl vanished from their mobile home in Fayetteville. However, hotel surveillance video taken around the same time Shaniya was reported missing shows her with a man identified as Mario Andrette McNeill. He has been charged with first degree kidnapping.

Police said they dropped kidnapping charges against another man who was arrested in the case Thursday.

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