FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A man who says he was one of the last people to see Leila Cavett before she went missing has been charged with kidnapping weeks after the woman’s 2-year-old son was found wandering alone in Miramar, court documents show.
Shanon Demar Ryan, 38, a self-proclaimed witch, appeared in federal court on Monday, at which time prosecutors asked that he remain behind bars before his trial.
A detention hearing is scheduled for Friday.
The full description of his charge is “knowingly and willfully kidnap, seize, confine, abduct, and carry away the victim with the intent to collect a ransom, reward, or other benefit and held the victim for that reason; and used a facility or an instrumentality of interstate or foreign commerce in committing or furtherance of the offense.”
According to his criminal complaint, Ryan told detectives that he has known Cavett since about January 2019 and that, among other reasons, Cavett recently traveled to South Florida to sell him her pickup truck for $3,000.
Detectives said Ryan told them he met Cavett at a RaceTrac gas station in Hollywood on July 25 and that they went to the beach with her son that afternoon in Ryan’s gold Lexus.
According to the complaint, Ryan claimed they parked their vehicles at the pumps after returning to the gas station and he last saw Cavett and her son leaving with several black males in a dark-colored sedan around 2:30 a.m. the morning of July 26.
“She grabbed her kid and got into the car with those guys,” Ryan said in a video posted to his Facebook page.
Police said surveillance video from the gas station does not show Ryan’s car at the pumps nor Cavett getting into a dark sedan.
Cavett has been missing for more than three weeks now.
Her son Kamdyn, who was found wandering alone in Miramar, is now in state custody in Alabama as the search for his mother continues.
According to the court document, surveillance video shows Ryan’s car directly in front of the apartment complex where Kamdyn was found by a Good Samaritan.
Police said the car was in the area minutes before the boy was picked up and the vehicle is very distinguishable because it is missing its front bumper.
Authorities said surveillance video also shows Ryan’s car leaving the gas station around 8:15 a.m. that morning and returning at 8:38 a.m., which is consistent with the time frame in which Kamdyn was abandoned and then found.
According to the complaint, detectives discovered that Ryan had been using another person’s debit card to make purchases at the RaceTrac and at a Walmart.
Among the items purchased were garbage bags, extra strength carpet odor eliminator and duct tape, the document stated.
Police said Ryan posted a nearly hour-long video on Facebook Aug. 9 discussing his relationship with Cavett, claiming to have helped her during a time she was homeless and saying that he covered a window of her truck with a garbage bag because the window was broken.
Surveillance video shows that no windows were broken on the vehicle while it was at the gas station, however when police recovered the truck, they said the driver’s-side window was broken and the driver-side visor was bent.
Police said shovels with small droplets of a red substance on them were also recovered.
According to the complaint, Ryan tried to sell the truck to another man for $1,000.
A gas station employee told detectives that they recalled Ryan using the RaceTrac dumpster and noticed children’s toys and women’s clothing inside it.
The complaint states that a federal search warrant was executed on Ryan’s iPhone on Aug. 15 and detectives discovered he had made various suspicious Google searches, including “What day does commercial garbage pickup for Hollywood, Florida?” and “Does bleach and alcohol make chloroform?”
Ryan said he last saw Cavett getting into another car at a Racetrac gas station in Hollywood. He said he never saw or heard from her again.
“She grabbed her kid and got into the car with those guys,” Ryan said.
It’s clear from his post that he believes he’s being accused unfairly.
“I have 15 years in prison, I have a number of (expletive) felonies, and I just told you I was the last person to see her. You might as well say, ‘Case closed,‘” Ryan said.
But Cavett’s father said he thinks Ryan does know more than he’s letting on, and he wants Ryan to fess up.
“I do truly believe that there’s things he should be telling the agents,” Curtis Cavett said.
While multiple posts regarding witchcraft have been posted to Ryan’s Facebook page, Curtis Cavett told Local 10 News that his daughter was not involved in witchcraft.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Shannon Ryan used Leila Cavett’s debit card to make purchases at a RaceTrac gas station and at a Walmart. Authorities say the debit card in fact belonged to another person with the initials CL.