A day after the FBI's two-month search for a young mother who vanished in South Florida shifted to a Broward County landfill, the woman's father said he's holding out hope that she'll be found alive.
FBI officials confirmed on Thursday that forensic teams were searching the Monarch Hill Landfill in Pompano Beach as part of their investigation into the disappearance of 21-year-old Leila Cavett.
Her father, Curtis Cavett, told NBC 6 on Friday that he was aware that meant authorities were likely now searching for his daughter's body, but said he's still hoping she'll be found alive.
"A body recovery search, that’s when I get to worrying a little bit more. My mind begins to worry a little bit more, let me put it that way, but I still have hope. I still have hope," Curtis Cavett said. "Until I can actually get some type of definitive proof that she’s no longer with us I’m going to remain confident that she’ll be found."
Leila Cavett, of Atlanta, was last seen on the night of July 25, just hours before her 2-year-old son, Kamdyn, was found wandering alone in a shirt and diaper at a Miramar apartment complex. The mother and son had arrived in South Florida the day before she went missing.
Authorities determined that she spent time in several Broward County communities, including Hollywood, Miramar and Fort Lauderdale. Her vehicle was found July 28 in Hollywood.
“Right now it’s still a recovery investigation. That’s what I know so far. As a parent you know of course I would like to know more but I understand they have an investigation and job to do just as well to protect the case," Curtis Cavett said.
Investigators arrested Shannon Ryan, 38, and charged him with kidnapping with the intent of collecting a ransom, reward or other benefit for allegedly taking Kamdyn.
Court documents said Ryan told investigators he has known Cavett since around January 2019, and that she had come to Florida to sell him her pickup truck.
In a criminal complaint filed in Fort Lauderdale, the FBI said video evidence didn't support Ryan’s claims that he saw Cavett and her son get into another person’s vehicle at a RaceTrac gas station in Hollywood. Investigators also say he bought odor eliminator, duct tape and extra-large garbage bags around the time of her disappearance.
Ryan remains behind bars. Curtis Cavett believes he knows more about his daughter's disappearance.
“I would like for him to speak. Say something, you know something, you know what you did. Come forward. Either way you’re not getting out of jail so you might as well say what you have to say," he said. "Stop making this harder on everyone, especially yourself. You’re not going anywhere so either way you go, you’re done. So give it up."
The FBI has offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the location of Cavett. Miramar Police, Hollywood Police and the Broward Sheriff's Office are assisting in the investigation.
“Every day is different. Sometimes I have my moments, but I know the FBI and the government has spent a lot of money on this search and they’re racking up high dollars for this so I really appreciated them just as well," Curtis Cavett said. "I have my moments when I just break down and sometimes I have to be strong just to know that she’ll be okay hopefully."