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‘Witchcraft’ Teacher Charged in Alleged Murder of Missing Mother, Whose Toddler Son Was Found Wandering Alone


Shannon Demar Ryan; Leila Cavett.

A man previously implicated in the disappearance of missing mother Leila Cavett has been accused of killing her. Shannon Demar Ryan, 39, faces a count of second-degree murder, according to a partially redacted police statement obtained by Law&Crime.

Cavett’s 2-year-old son was found wandering the streets of Miramar, Florida on July 26, 2020, cops have said. There was no apparent trace of his parents. Officers soon figured out, however, that he was the son of Atlanta woman Leila Cavett. Police in nearby Hollywood, Florida took over the investigation after they found Cavett’s white pickup truck in their jurisdiction.

Enter Shannon Ryan, who was arrested in August for allegedly lying to federal investigators in connection to Leila’s disappearance. This self-described teacher of “witchcraft” had released a nearly hour-long video in which he denied wrongdoing. He asserted Cavett went down to Florida to sell him her truck. He maintained that he spoke to the police, telling them everything that he knew. Ryan alleged that Cavett was speaking to some men, and then she brought her son into their car with her. He maintained that he tried to talk her out of it, but she went anyway. Cavett never returned, he said.

But police said they found Ryan with Cavett’s truck, according to the probable cause affidavit obtained by Law&Crime. He allegedly told them the story about Leila and her son going off with the men.

Ryan said he was willing to meet with police, but he no-showed a promised interview at a Walmart parking lot on July 29th, and did not respond to a detective’s phone calls, police said. License plate readers allegedly showed Ryan going north and making his way to Texas. When the FBI arrested him last year, Ryan allegedly admitted to being at a certain apartment complex because his car had a flat tire. This was the same place where Leila’s son was found.

In a slightly redacted portion of the affidavit, police reference a witness who claimed to have lived with Ryan, Cavett, and a third person for a few months in Alabama. [The name of Leila’s son is redacted through the document.]

Surveillance video from July 25, 2020 at a RaceTrac gas station allegedly showed Cavett, Ryan, and a third person (presumably the son) together. Cops made no mention of other people.

Footage from July 26, 2020 showed Ryan buying carpet deodorant, trash bags, and duct tape from Walmart. Video from July 27 allegedly showed him entering the RaceTrac with a bottle of cleaner containing bleach. He was also seen going back and forth between Cavett’s truck and the dumpster, throwing away items including women’s clothes and a child’s toys, police said. He put a large object wrapped in black garbage bags from the truck to the dumpster. Ryan allegedly put what were apparently bloody towels in a trash can.

His cell phone data allegedly revealed a Google search for whether bleach and alcohol make chloroform, as well as the Waste Management website for city of Hollywood, Florida regarding the time of commercial trash pick-up.

Ryan is also newly charged with tampering with evidence. Federal authorities recently dropped the kidnapping charge against him. He was already at the Broward County Jail on a related, pending child neglect case on a $100,000 bond. His attorney in that matter did not immediately respond to a Law&Crime request for comment.

[Mugshot of Ryan via Broward County Jail; image of Cavett via FBI]

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