FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. – 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.
McNeill, 29, was already accused of taking 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 declined to discuss further details of the investigation Thursday. But he did express hope that the girl's family could move forward.
"It is our sincere hope that the Davis family may now begin to put this horrific event behind them and begin the healing process," he said.
McNeill's lawyer, Allen Rogers, did not immediately respond to a message left at his office after hours.
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.
The girl's mother, Antoinette Davis, is charged with trafficking her daughter and child abuse involving prostitution. Bergamine said no new charges have been filed against Davis as of Thursday night.
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.