Missing mom Leila Cavett investigation leads FBI to landfill

Man talking about Cavett in social media post being held for kidnapping of two-year-old

BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – More than a dozen investigators in protective gear spent hours at a Northwest Broward County landfill on Thursday where they also positioned tents and multiple vehicles. It is Day 1 of a search that could take some time.

FBI spokesman James Marshall confirmed the canvassing is part of the investigation into missing mother Leila Cavett.

Agents from the Miami field office of the FBI were spotted digging around a specific area at the Monarch Hill landfill at 2700 Wiles Road.

Marshall did not disclose what led agents to search the landfill.

Cavett, 21, was last seen July 25 in surveillance images from a RaceTrac gas station on Hollywood Boulevard near State Road 7. The next day, her 2-year-old son Kamdyn was found wandering alone outside of an apartment complex in Miramar.

(See the surveillance video)


Shannon Demar Ryan remains in custody, not for the disappearance of Cavett, but for the kidnapping of the two year old boy. In court documents filed by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District Court of Florida, the attorney said "the weight of the evidence against the Defendant (Ryan) is substantial. Government witnesses will testify that on the morning of July 26, a two year old child was found wandering alone in an apartment complex in Miramar. . . Video surveillance footage of the Miramar apartment complex where (the child) had been found showed a vehicle which appeared to be the Defendant’s Lexus, which is distinctive because it is missing its front bumper, in the vicinity only minutes before (the child) was found. Video of footage of the RaceTrac gas station shows the Defendant’s Lexus leaving the gas station at 8:15 a.m. and returning at 8:38 a.m., the time frame within which (the child) was discovered in the parking lot.

According to authorities, an employee at the gas station said they saw Ryan using the dumpster but that was nearly a month after Cavett’s disappearance.

Another employee recalled seeing women’s clothing and children’s toys in the dumpster on or around July 26. The FBI was seen going through two dumpsters at the gas stations and then towing them away.

Shannon Ryan’s social media post and Google searches

In a nearly hourlong video on social media, Ryan said that Cavett drove from Georgia to South Florida to sell him her white-pick up truck and that he bought it from her for $3,000. Surveillance officers saw Ryan approach the truck with the keys in his hand on July 28, where it was located in a Walmart parking lot in Hollywood.

[RELATED: See Shannon Ryan’s post on Facebook: "Who is Leila Cavett and what is my connection to her disappearance? Let’s talk about it!!!]

The court filing said that Ryan was homeless and has no ties to South Florida. “He claims to be employed as a tarot reader, psychic advisory and spiritual guide. His only asset is his Lexus sedan,” the document stated. On his Facebook page he identifies himself also as a witch and master of the occult arts.

Ryan was convicted of burglary and sentenced to 15 years in jail in 2004, according to the detention order. Ryan told detectives that he had taken the mother and her son to Fort Lauderdale beach on July 25 in his Lexus. He said at 2:30 a.m. on July 26, after they had returned to the gas station, Cavett took her child and left the area with several black males in a dark sedan. According to the court documents, surveillance video did not show Cavett leaving in a dark sedan.

Court documents also stated that Google searches by the defendant and purchases made by him “suggest that he may have been planning to dispose of human remains.” In his criminal complaint, it says Ryan was also searching on his phone for Hollywood commercial garbage pickup dates.

According to the complaint, detectives discovered that Ryan had been using another person’s debit card to buy items 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.

During a Sept. 3 hearing, Ryan was deemed a flight risk and danger to society. He is being held with no bond. His next appearance in court is in January of 2021.

The FBI, Miramar Police Department, Hollywood Police Department and the Broward Sheriff’s Office are investigating Cavett’s disappearance.

The FBI still considers Cavett as a missing person at this time.

Anyone with information about Cavett’s disappearance is asked to call the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI or contact them by going to FBI.GOV/TIPS.

About the Authors:

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true-crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local 10.com.

Amanda Batchelor is the Digital Executive Producer for Local10.com.