What to Know
- Leila Cavett, 21, has been missing since last month, when her 2-year-old son was found wandering alone in Miramar
- Authorities have arrested Shannon Ryan in connection with the case. He's accused of kidnapping Cavett's son
- Ryan said he knew Cavett and had arranged to buy her truck, and said he last saw her get into a car with a group of men
A man who may have been the last to see a young mother who disappeared in South Florida is now facing a federal kidnapping charge in connection with the case, according to a criminal complaint.
Shannon Demar Ryan, 38, is accused of kidnapping the young son of 21-year-old Leila Cavett, according to the criminal complaint filed Monday.
MORE ON THE LEILA CAVETT DISAPPEARANCE
Ryan, a self-described witch and chakra master, was arrested Saturday on two counts of lying to a federal officer, according to Broward Sheriff's Office jail records.
The search for Cavett began on July 26, when her 2-year-old son Kamdyn was found wandering alone barefoot in the parking lot of a Miramar apartment complex.
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.
According to the criminal complaint, a license plate reader showed Cavett's white GMC pickup truck was in the parking lot of a Walmart near State Road 7 and Hollywood Boulevard on July 27.
Authorities set up surveillance of the truck and on July 28, Ryan approached the truck with the keys in his hand, the complaint said.
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.
"Additionally, the surveillance video from the Racetrac gas station shows Ryan’s car leaving the gas station at approximately 8:15 AM that morning, and returning at approximately 8:38 AM, which is consistent with the time frame in which the child was abandoned and recovered," 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 Hefty Strong 39 Gallon Extra Large Trash Drawstring Bags, two boxes of Extra Strength Carpet Odor Eliminator, and Advanced Strength Duct Tape, the complaint said.
On August 9, 2020, Ryan posted a video on his Facebook account discussing his relationship with Cavett and spoke about covering a window on her truck with a garbage bag, the complaint said.
Surveillance footage of Cavett's initial arrival showed that all the windows of her truck were intact at that time, but when authorities searched the truck they found the driver’s side window was broken and the driver’s side visor was bent out of its ordinary position, 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.”
A friend of Ryan's also told investigators that Ryan had tried to sell him a white GMC pickup truck on July 26 for $1,000, the complaint said.
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.
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.
Cavett remains missing. The FBI has yet to comment on Ryan's arrest.
Ryan remained behind bars in Broward County Monday. Attorney information wasn't available.