What to Know
- The FBI and local police have been searching for 21-year-old Leila Cavett since last month
- The search for the young mother began when her 2-year-old son was found wandering alone in Miramar on July 26
- A man has been charged in the child's kidnapping but authorities are still searching for Cavett
The FBI has released new surveillance footage and announced a $10,000 reward in the case of a Georgia woman who vanished in South Florida last month.
The surveillance footage released Thursday shows the last known images of 21-year-old Leila Cavett before her mysterious disappearance on or about July 25, FBI officials said.
The search for Cavett began the next day, July 26, where her 2-year-old son Kamdyn was found wandering in the parking lot of an apartment complex in Miramar.
FBI officials said Cavett, who had previously been living in Georgia, came down to Florida on July 24th, with a photo showing her at a Cracker Barrel in Vero Beach near Interstate 95 that day.
The next day, July 25th, she was seen in the Fort Lauderdale Beach and Las Olas areas during the day and at a RaceTrac gas station in Hollywood that night.
The new footage released Thursday showed Cavett's truck at the gas station, and her exiting a Lexus at the gas station. It also shows her inside the gas station twice, the last time at around 10:15 p.m. on July 25.
Officials have arrested the owner of that Lexus, 38-year-old Shannon Ryan, for allegedly kidnapping Cavett's son, according to a criminal complaint.
Ryan, a self-described witch and chakra master, had been arrested Saturday on two counts of lying to a federal officer, according to Broward Sheriff's Office jail records.
Ryan told authorities he had known Cavett since around January 2019 and said she was coming to Florida to sell him her truck, the complaint said. He said he paid her $3,000 for the truck.
Ryan said Cavett met him at the RaceTrac gas station on July 25 and said Cavett and her son went with him to Fort Lauderdale Beach that day in his Lexus, the complaint said.
The three returned to the gas station and Ryan said Cavett and her son left in a dark sedan with several men around 2:30 a.m. on July 26, the complaint said. He said it was the last time he saw her.
But surveillance footage didn't show Cavett leaving the gas station in a dark sedan, and surveillance footage from the area where Kamdyn was found showed a vehicle consistent with Ryan's Lexus in front of the apartment complex minutes before Kamdyn was found, the complaint said.
The complaint said cell records showed Ryan’s phone was utilizing a tower in the area where Kamdyn was abandoned at the same time he was abandoned, and his car was observed on video surveillance in the area.
Ryan had also been using a debit card at the RaceTrac and Walmart, and records showed he purchased extra large garbage bags, two boxes of extra strength carpet odor eliminator, and advanced strength duct tape, the complaint said.
Authorities also recovered shovels with small droplets of a red substance on them from the truck, the complaint said. When authorities searched Ryan's Lexus, they found a half-empty container of all-purpose cleaner with bleach, numerous black trash bags, and a white powdery substance under the front passenger seat, the complaint said.
The complaint said that when authorities searched Ryan's iPhone, they found Google searches for “What day does commercial garbage pickup for Hollywood, Florida” and “Does bleach and alcohol make chloroform.”
Authorities interviewed several employees of the RaceTrac gas station and one employee recognized a picture of Ryan and told law enforcement that they had seen Ryan using the RaceTrac dumpster, the complaint said.
Another employee specifically remembered seeing children’s toys and women’s clothing inside the dumpster on or around July 26, the complaint said. The employee recognized a distinct pair of floral pants worn by Cavett in a picture shown to them.
Authorities also recovered video surveillance footage from July 26 where Ryan can be observed parking his Lexus in front of the RaceTrac dumpster, the complaint said.
At the gas station Thursday, authorities were in the process of removing the dumpsters.
In the 50-minute Facebook video on his Facebook page, Ryan claimed he met Cavett outside his home in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, when she showed up in the middle of the night with her then 1-year-old baby, saying her car broke down and she needed shelter.
Ryan said he let them stay there for two months, teaching Cavett witchcraft before she moved out.
FBI officials said they are still searching for Cavett and asking for tips from the public.
“We are still relentlessly investigating the circumstances surrounding her disappearance," FBI officials said in a statement. "Any information, no matter how seemingly insignificant, may be important to finding Leila. We thank those who have already provided information and urge other members of our community to come forward.”