An Alabama man who is a self-proclaimed ‘witch’ has been charged with kidnapping in the disappearance of a mother whose two-year-old son was found alone in a Florida parking lot.
Shanon Demar Ryan, 38, of Muscle Shoals, was officially charged with kidnapping a victim with the intent of collecting a ransom, reward or other benefit on Monday.
That charge comes after Ryan was hit with two counts of lying to federal agents on Saturday.
Leila Cavett, 21, was last seen on July 26 after traveling from Georgia to Florida with her two-year-old son, Kamdyn Cavett Arnold.
Arnold, was found wandering alone in a parking lot in Miramar.
FBI surveillance footage showed Cavett at a RaceTrac gas station, but she has not been seen or heard from for four weeks.
Cavett was last seen driving a mid-to-late 90s white Chevy Silverado 3500, with a red tailgate and a Baby on Board sign on the passenger window.
In a criminal complaint filed in Fort Lauderdale, FBI officials argued that video evidence did not support Ryan’s claim that he watched Cavett and her son get into another person’s vehicle.
They also said Ryan bought odor eliminator, duct tape and extra-large garbage bags around the time of Cavett’s disappearance.
‘Leila´s separation from her son is completely out of character,’ told The Associated Press. ‘Her family and others in our community are very concerned about her safety and well-being.’
According to the complaint, Ryan said Cavett met him at a gas station in Hollywood on July 25 before heading to the beach with the toddler in Ryan’s gold Lexus.
He said that when they returned to the gas station, they parked at the pumps and she and Kamdyn then got into a vehicle with several Black males.
That was around 2.30am on July 26. Her vehicle was found July 28 in Hollywood.
Investigators said surveillance video from the gas station doesn’t show Ryan’s car at the pump. It also doesn’t show Cavett or the toddler getting into a vehicle.
Later that morning, the child was found in the apartment complex parking lot in nearby Miramar, police said.
Surveillance video shows Ryan’s car in front of the apartment complex in the minutes before a woman found the boy wandering and called police when she couldn’t find his mother, the complaint said.
Video from the gas station shows Ryan´s car leaving the gas station around 8.15am that morning and returning at 8.38am, which is about the time the child was found.
Investigators said Ryan had been using a debit card to buy extra-strength odor eliminator, extra-large garbage bags and duct tape at the gas station and a Walmart store, court document show.
A federal search warrant executed on Ryan’s phone shows that he had made various Google searches, including ‘What day does commercial garbage pickup for Hollywood, Florida?’ and ‘Does bleach and alcohol make chloroform?’
Law enforcement also recovered shovels with small droplets of a red substance on them.
The complaint also said several employees at the gas station were interviewed by investigators. One recognized Ryan, and had seen him near the trash bin.
Another employee remembered seeing women’s clothing and children’s toys in the trash and recognized a pair of floral pants worn by Cavett, the complaint said.
In video footage obtained by law enforcement, Ryan was spotted parking his vehicle near the trash bin on July 26.
Previously, Ryan shared a number of recent social media that appeared to be directly or potentially about the case.
On Facebook, Ryan declared that he is a spiritual adviser, CEO, a teacher and a witch.
‘Stop thinking like muggles,’ he wrote in one post. ‘A witch putting a hex on someone does not mean that person is going to die or be killed. Why would a Witch kill anyone they want to suffer?
‘There is no suffering in death, only the living suffer. You need flesh, bones and a beating heart in order to feel pain.’
‘A Witch is not a spiritual assassin. We do not take death contracts. Death has already contracted us all, unless you got an extension,’ he added.
In a 51-minute video shared August 9, titled ‘Who is Leila Cavett and What is My Connection to her Disappearance,’ he directly references the case and claims to be the last person to have seen her before she vanished.
‘Why is it you have a missing woman, and the last person that’s seen her, which is me, who talked to the police, you ain’t heard nothing about me,’ he said, WSVN reports.
‘We have a missing woman, and I gave the police everything that I know,’ he added.
Ryan said he’s known Cavett for around a year, and even claimed to have taken in her and her son in at one point when they did not have housing.
He claimed to have been visiting a sick student in Hollywood, Florida, just 25 miles west of Miramar, and connected with Cavett. Cavett allegedly told Ryan that she purchased a truck.
‘I said, “Let me buy that truck from you,”‘he said in the video. ‘I’m not selling my truck.’ I’m like, “Leila, come on, sell me the truck.’”
Ryan claimed that the two came to an agreement and she would drive the truck down to Florida. The two met up on July 25 at the parking lot of a Walmart.
‘She got in the car with me — boom — and we pulled off, just like I told the police department,’ Ryan said.
Ryan then claimed to have paid Cavett $3,000 for the truck and that they visited a RaceTrac gas station nearby.
Surveillance footage shared by the FBI confirmed that Cavett was at the gas station that day.
Ryan said they spent the rest of the day together before returning to the RaceTrac gas station.
‘It’s some guys in a car that she talking to. Leila got her and her son and got in the car with those guys,’ Ryan claimed in the video.
He said he tried to stop her from leaving with the men, but she left anyway. Ryan allegedly waited in his car for Cavett, but she did not return.
Then, Ryan said he was approached by police officers who searched his truck.
‘Police everywhere, they jumped out ‘Hey, what are you doing? Hey, freeze!’ he said.
Two photos shared on August 6 appeared to show two plainclothes officers searching a silver Lexus sedan. In one photo, a truck matching the description of Cavett’s vehicle is seen in the background.
On August 15, he shared a photo of him in front of the Southland Shopping Center in Fort Lauderdale and appeared to goad authorities.
‘Still waiting…. Anybody else think guilty or on the run? Because obviously the FBI and the police don’t. Please go play somewhere, I’m busy,’ he wrote.
‘I got Witch s*** to do. Now back to business. I got spiritual guidance session to hold. Had to take today off, but now I’m good. Point proven.’
One the same day, he added, ‘I apologize class for having disrupt our lessons again, but the FBI is in some bulls***. They been had those pictures of Leila. Those the same cameras I mentioned in my video when I told them to go back and look at videos camera.
‘Now that was weeks ago I told Miramar police department the same thing. If they were really looking for Lelia, why they just release those pictures to you all.
‘The FBI is investigating and I’m investigating them.’
Authorities found Cavett’s unattended Chevy in Hollywood on July 28. Hollywood police then took over the case and launched a missing person investigation.
Cavett’s family members said they last talked to her on July 17 and have no idea why she would’ve traveled to Florida.
According to her Facebook page, Cavett lives in Atlanta, Georgia, but is originally from Alabama.
‘I FaceTimed her on July 17. We were on the phone for about an hour and she was fine,’ one of her sisters told reporters a few weeks ago.
‘She didn’t have any plans to come to Florida, so we’re very confused right now.’
Authorities said Cavett is about 5 feet 3 inches tall with shoulder length hair. She has a fish tattoo on her right wrist and another tattoo that says Kamdyn on her right arm.
The toddler is now in the custody of Child Protective Services as police continue their investigation.