Self-proclaimed witch charged with murder in Broward missing-mother search, police say

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An Alabama man who is a self-proclaimed witch has been charged with second-degree murder in connection with the disappearance of 21-year-old mother Leila Cavett, Hollywood police announced late Tuesday.

Her body has not been found.

Shannon Ryan, 39, who was charged last month by Miramar police with child neglect after federal charges were dropped, also faces a charge of tampering with evidence by Hollywood police.

Cavett, who was living in Atlanta and visiting South Florida, went missing July 25. Her 2-year-old son was found wandering alone July 26 in a Miramar apartment complex.

Investigators soon realized that Cavett, who was originally from Jasper, Alabama, had disappeared. In the following days, her truck was found in the parking lot of a Hollywood Walmart.

The FBI stepped in to help with the investigation, and Ryan was arrested on Aug. 16 on a kidnapping charge. Ryan, of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, told investigators at the time that he was going to buy her truck for $3,000 and had arranged to meet Cavett in Florida. He also said he knew Cavett from Alabama.

On Aug. 9, Shannon had posted an hour-long video describing his relationship with Cavett, and said she had shown up at his door in Alabama one day and that he invited her in and helped her. On his Facebook page with the name “Magnetic Kundalini,” Ryan wrote that he is devoted to “Witchcraft, Knowledge of Self, Kemetic Kundalini & Chakra meditation, Kemetic Science, Health, wellness, fitness, mentorship.”

The FBI released a timeline of Cavett’s whereabouts at the end of August. The last time she was seen was at a RaceTrac gas station in Hollywood at about 10:30 p.m. on July 25. Ryan told investigators she had left the gas station in a car with two men.

Surveillance cameras only captured Ryan’s Lexus.

In October, the FBI confirmed that they were searching Monarch Hill Landfill, a north Broward landfill, in connection with her disappearance.

In Tuesday’s arrest report, Hollywood police say Ryan was caught on video buying carpet cleaner and trash bags. He also searched Google for “does bleach and alcohol make chloroform.”

The report also details how his cellphone and surveillance placed him in the apartment complex where her son was abandoned.

Ryan’s defense attorney could not be reached Tuesday night.

Hollywood said the FBI is helping with the investigation.

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