Why Didn't God Help Shaniya?

Posted by: Andee / Category: , , ,

Let me begin by saying that I have been following this story from the very beginning. This little girl, Shaniya, has a place in my heart forever. Something about her smile really tore at me, and I sat by my computer constantly checking for updates on her whereabouts and safety. For some reason, this specific story made me stop whatever I was doing at the time and pay attention.

For those who haven't been keeping up with this story in the news, let me get you up to speed...

This beautiful little girl, Shaniya Davis, was five years old when she was raped and murdered (allegedly) by Mario Andrette McNeill.

Shaniya spent most of her childhood living with her father, Bradley Lockhart, and his relatives. While it's clear that neither of Shaniya's parents were picture perfect, you can tell that Mr. Lockhart loved his little girl very much.

Shaniya was the result of a one night stand, and Shaniya's mother, Antoinette Nicole Davis, had drug problems and run-ins with the law. It seems as though Mr. Lockhart thought Antoinette had begun to get her life together, and he allowed his daughter to stay with her Mom for a period of time.

He said his daughter had lived with him for the past three or four years. He let her live with her mother, Antoinette Davis, about three weeks ago because she had found a place to live and had held a job for six months, he said.

"I just wanted her to be a mother," he said. "She was never part of her life."

He would never see her again.

Shaniya's mother, Antoinette, called 911 from her mobile home in North Carolina :

While working in Utah in the construction field, Bradley Lockhart found out that his daughter had been reported missing. Abducted from her mother's mobile home. He flew back home to speak with investigators and help locate Shaniya. He was desperate, making television plea after television plea begging for help from the public in locating his precious little girl.

Shaniya's father and his family.

The television pleas were helping with leads. People were calling in with possible sightings, ideas, theories... you name it. The scariest of which were those who knew Antoinette and thought that she might have been prostituting her 5 year old daughter in a back room of the home she disappeared from.

Police arrested their first suspect, Clarence Darriel Coe (30) who just happens to be Antoinette's boyfriend. They quickly realized they had the wrong man and released him when a tipster called in from a hotel in Sanford after witnessing the little girl and a man identified by Mario AndretteMcNeill. Investigators quickly looked through surveillance tape and passed out photos like this to the press to try to locate Shaniya.

Later, McNeill was arrested.

Turns out he bragged to a couple buddies that he killed the girl and then buried her in an area that had deer carcases.

Cold blooded bastard.

There she is, folks. In the arms of the man who is now accused of raping and then murdering her.

No shoes. Not sure why that bothers me.

I wish I was able to reach into the computer screen and grab her.

Antoinette Davis was arrested for selling her daughter for sex. Many people on the Internet are assuming she might have given up her little girl because of a drug debt of some kind. She is pregnant with another child, and one reporter made comments that it seemed as though she was going through withdrawls during her first court appearance. What was she taking while pregnant? It's clear Ms. Davis doesn't care about anyone but herself.

I wish someone, somewhere could have done something.

This is where my crime post turns into something else...

Where was God when this little girl was being raped?

Where was God when she was being murdered?

Why didn't God help her?

You see, I used to really believe that our loving creator was watching out for us and helping us when we needed it. Sure, bad things happened... but you can't expect God to be everywhere... right? At least, that is what I told myself to make my beliefs make sense.

I remember listening to my teachers in church tell of the wonderful miracles God performed. Every once in a while, on the news, I would hear an amazing story in which people claimed their survival or the birth of a premature baby was nothing short of one of these miracles. Their stories were like proof to me. They enabled my belief.

You would also hear horror stories on the news. The wars, the abuse, the murders, the accidents that killed people that had promising lives ahead of them. What did I say to make myself feel better about these?

God has a reason for everything.

I have to ask you guys, the believers out there, one question.

What is the reason that God didn't help Shaniya? If God performs all of these miracles, saves lives, heals people, and works in mysterious ways, why didn't He help her?

He certainly had the time.

He could have stopped her father from allowing her to spend time at her mothers.

He could have performed some miracle that would stop the cold blooded murderer from first raping her and then taking her life.

He just didn't?

Did she not deserve God's help?

It's certainly not because people were not praying for her to come home safely. People all over the WORLD were holding their breath and pleading with God to intervene.

Why didn't he?

If God really exists, which I clearly doubt, he made the choice to *not* help Shaniya. After all, He sees and hears everything. God is supposedly everywhere, right?

Why would a loving God sit back and let this happen to a young child?

Why does he let this happen every single day to thousands of other children?

Why doesn't he heal childhood cancer?

If you claim he can, why doesn't he?

Where was God when this girl needed him?

Now I am at a crossroads. Usually I would take comfort in the fact that this little girl was up in heaven with the angels. Not feeling pain, not being afraid.

I don't have that anymore.



  1. Anonymous Says:


    I so feel what you are feeling. This story grips me and makes me question so much about life. Shaniya looks so much like my children and they are close to her age and I can't let go of her image. First, I am obviously angry (even hateful) at the killer and her mother. Second, I am angry at the father. I am trying not to be too harsh because I believe he is in pain. But some of his statements don't make sense. The signs that the mother was very questionable is obvious (cigarette burns on Shaniya). There are pictures posted on the web of the mother's home and I would think he would want to have checked it out before leaving her there for weeks at a time - it was filthy and such a contrast to his own. Its also odd that he was ok with pulling her out of school (I assumed she went to school) - at this time of year ? My only point is that the signs of danger were there but ignored - perhaps for the "inconvenience of childcare". Its a reminder that a child's life can be in danger and to never, never look the other way or make excuses despite that inner awareness no matter who it is. Sorry - I digress because this seems that it could have been avoided. I feel that there is a level of responsibility by the father that is missing, even with his other children. Some of his appearances are driving me nuts.

    On the God matter - I hear you and I don't know how to make peace. I actually read "The Shack" (a story of a father reconciling the violent murder of his little girl with God) a few weeks ago and felt that I had a bit more understanding. Essentially the premise is that God has given us the power for right and wrong and is pained by these type of actions. The book also takes the view that even in the darkest and evil moments God is there with us. A death such as Shaniya's is not anything God would want and serves absolutely no purpose under God. Her death is the result of someone lost, sick, callous and without any shread of empathy or love. I can only hope that in the actual act (the rape, the murder) that our spirit moves outside of our body and God is there for us comforting us in our greatest need.

    It does all seem so painful (for the child, victim, family..)and I still can't understand why not just save the child. However, while my mind struggles I do feel that there is something there. Man was given the capacity to love but to also act in these insane ways. This actions are man not God.

  1. Andee Says:


    Thank you for the comment.

    Shaniya's story REALLY got to me. I know I just one of thousands of perfect strangers who seem to be mourning her more than her own mother is.

    This shouldn't have happened to her. I want the people responsible to fully understand what they have done and get the maximum penalty possible.

    For the God thing, I will have to respectfully disagree with you.

    I can't, for the life of me, understand why a just and loving creator would sit back and let this happen. If it's not what God wants, then why doesn't he do something about it? She was innocent, she was just FIVE.

    I ask the same questions about September 11th, the holocaust and countless other events over time.

    Wouldn't a just and loving creator step in? Why not? Miracles supposedly happen every day, but they are *nothing* compared to the amount of tragedy that this God can stop with his magical being powers. It makes no sense whatsoever.

    Again, I appreciate your comment and I hope you stay around and continue to read the blog. I am of the belief that a respectful debate is a healthy thing, and you seem pretty cool.


  1. Anonymous Says:


    I don't know if we disagree as I don't have any pretense that I can begin to explain why this happens and why isn't it just stopped by God. I think if you have empathy and love you can never get an answer that will comfort you. I think what makes things so hard is that notion that we were always taught that if you pray and are a good christian nothing bad will happen. And unfortunately bad things do happen to kind, innocent and undeserving people. I think I will forever try to reconcile and will never truly understand - until I pass on.

    I too find that I grapple with the why with soo.. many horrors in the world (Rwanda, countless child abuse cases, human trafficking, violence against women,the holocaust, hunger and the list is endless...)I think the only way I will get peace is by doing what I can to fight injustice, prejudice, hunger, abuse and indifference.

    I wish you luck in your search . I can tell that you will make a difference. Let's do it for Shaniya and the countless Shaniya's out there.


  1. Andee Says:


    Wonderful comment, thank you.

    I think that my decision about God was a logical one.

    I just wish that people out in the world who think they are doing so much good by praying would actually *do* something to help the situation instead.

    Sure, there are tons of people touched by Shaniya's story that pray for her and people like her... but they do nothing else. They think that is good enough. They feel that their prayer has done something, when in reality nothing has changed whatsoever.

    It's frustrating to say the least.

    Don't be a stranger!