Little Shaniya Davis’ body was found beside a rural road in North Carolina on 16 November (09).
Antoinette Davis, who had reported her daughter missing, is charged with human trafficking and child abuse involving prostitution. Mario McNeill, an acquaintance, is charged with kidnapping, rape and murder.
Moved to tears by the story, the athlete contacted the child’s grieving father, Bradley Lockhart, and asked if there was anything he could do to help the family. He then agreed to pay for Sunday’s (22Nov09) burial ceremony, attended by 2,000 people.
O’Neal tells The Cleveland Plain Dealer, “I was sitting at home watching it on the news, and the story brought a tear to my eye.”
Funeral director Corey Breece Sr. declined to reveal the funeral cost, but said a child’s burial “averages around $4,500 (£2,810).”