An Alabama man has been charged with the murder of a missing mom who hasn’t been seen in nearly a year.
Al.com reports that Shannon Ryan, 39, is charged with second-degree murder in connection with 21-year-old Leila Cavett, who was last seen in Florida in July 2020, with her 2-year-old son, Kamdyn. On July 26, 2020, Kamdyn was found wandering alone at an apartment complex in the 1860 block of SW 68th Avenue in Miramar.
Security footage showed Ryan in a Honda sedan in the same area shortly before a passerby spotted Kamdyn and contacted police. Ryan was initially charged with kidnapping the child but a judge later dropped it and charged Ryan with child neglect.
The order of dismissal for the federal kidnapping charge was filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida in April 2020. The order doesn’t reveal why the charge was dropped, but Local 10 reports that the kidnapping case against Ryan is mostly “circumstantial,” which made the FBI’s case “rocky at best.”
Leila Cavett’s Disappearance
According to the FBI, Cavett traveled from Georgia to Florida with her son to become an apprentice for Ryan, who not only refers to himself as a witch doctor but also a chakra healer.
Ryan previously admitted that he was the last person to have seen Cavett in Florida, but said he didn’t know where she was. He claimed Cavett and Kamdyn got into a car with a group of men at a RaceTrac gas station in Hollywood and he has not seen her since.
During investigations, detectives learned that Ryan went to a Walmart and a gas station, where he used a debit card to buy duct tape, odor eliminator, and extra-large garbage bags, according to court documents.
According to a federal search warrant, investigators found shovels with small droplets of some sort of red substance on them in Ryan’s possession.
Investigators also interviewed several workers at a RaceTrac gas station where Cavett was spotted on July 25. Employees said they noticed children’s toys and women’s clothing in the dumpster. One article of clothing looked identical to the floral pants Cavett was seen wearing on security footage.
One of the workers told investigators they saw Ryan near the gas station dumpster. Law enforcement obtained security footage showing Ryan parking his car near the dumpster on July 25.
Search records on Ryan’s phone allegedly showed incriminating online queries, including, in part:
- “What day does commercial garbage pickup for Hollywood, Florida?”
- “Does bleach and alcohol make chloroform?”
Ryan reportedly continued to deny that he had anything to do with Cavett or her son’s disappearance. Although he claimed the pair left in a dark sedan at around 2:30 a.m with a group of Black males at the RaceTrac, investigators said that there is no evidence on security footage that backs up Ryan’s claims.
Prior to his arrest, Ryan posted an hour-long Facebook video, claiming Leila left on her own with her son. One the same video, Ryan said he had known Cavett and her son since 2019, and that the pair previously lived with him in Alabama.
Ryan also said he was in Hollywood visiting a friend in the hospital when he asked Cavett to come to Florida. He offered to buy her truck from her, a truck Cavett had reportedly just bought for herself.
“I said, ‘Let me buy that truck from you,’” Ryan said. “‘I’m not selling my truck.’ I’m like, ‘Leila, come on, sell me the truck.’ From my understanding, I thought she was the reason she was coming to Florida.”
Ryan alleged that Cavett showed up with the truck and her son in Florida after their conversation. He claimed he paid $3,000 for the truck, then spent the day with Cavett and Kamydyn, going to the beach and treating them to lunch and dinner.
Security footage captured Cavett on the evening of July 24 at a Cracker Barrel in Vero Beach, with her son. She was spotted the following day at a RaceTrac gas station near 441 and Hollywood Blvd. in Hollywood.
Cavett entered and exited a Lexus sedan at RaceTrac at around 3 p.m. on July 25, 2020. Cavett returned to the same gas station that evening, with her son, according to authorities.
In October 2020, investigators searched a Broward County landfill, where the trash from the RaceTrac dumpsters is taken. They didn’t locate Cavett.
CrimeOnline reached out to Ryan prior to his arrest, but he refused to talk unless he was first given a payment of $500,000.
“That’s my price. This is how I do business. I get paid to answer people’s questions, so you are no different. Other than that, I have nothing to say and you can quote me on this,” Ryan told CrimeOnline.
Check back for updates.
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[Feature Photo: Leila Cavett and Kamdyn/Facebook; Police Handout]