Self-proclaimed witch arrested in apprentice’s murder speaks from Broward jail

Leila Cavett, 21, vanished in 2020 in Broward County

A self-proclaimed witch claims he did not kill a mother and her son as detectives and prosecutors allege.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – In 2020, 21-year-old Leila Cavett traveled with her young son from Georgia to South Florida to sell a white pickup truck to a man named Shannon Ryan.

She suddenly vanished.

The last time she was seen alive was on surveillance cameras inside a RaceTrac gas station in Hollywood.

Police soon discovered her little boy abandoned, wandering near a Miramar apartment complex.

Her father said Leila was a loving mother who would never abandon her child.

The investigation quickly turned to Ryan. The FBI said they connected Ryan to the disappearance through surveillance video, cell towers and social media.

He is now facing a murder charge in her death.

Ryan, a self-proclaimed witch, told Local 10′s Crime Specialist Bridgette Matter from the Broward County Jail that he did not kill Cavett.

“I can’t go into the particulars of the case like that because this is being recorded, but me and her had previous acquaintances together,” Ryan said.

Detectives said they found through Facebook messages that Cavett wanted to be Ryan’s apprentice. Ryan said he taught her to read tarot cards.

“I teach witchcraft, things of that nature, yeah I do tarot card readings,” Ryan said.

Cavett’s body has not been found. The Hollywood Police Department said the case is still open and are asking for tips from the public.

Police reported around the time of Cavett’s disappearance that Ryan was seen buying trash bags, duct tape and carpet cleaner. An arrest report says surveillance cameras captured Ryan moving Cavett’s truck and throwing away women’s clothing and children’s toys in a dumpster, as well as what appeared to be bloody towels -- something Local 10 pressed him on, but he denied.

Police released information about Ryan’s internet searches, including a Google search: “Does bleach and alcohol make chloroform?”

The FBI carried out several searches at a landfill but Cavett’s body has not been found.

If you have any information that could help lead police to Cavett’s body, call Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-8477.

About the Author:

Bridgette Matter joined the Local 10 News team as a reporter in July 2021. Before moving to South Florida, she began her career in South Bend, Indiana and spent six years in Jacksonville as a reporter and weekend anchor.