UPDATE: Authorities have made an arrest in the disappearance of Leila Cavett. Read through the article to get the full story, or skip to the end for the update.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is appealing to the public for any information that could help reunite a missing mom with her lost son. Residents in Miramar, Florida found two-year-old Kamdyn Cavett wandering around barefoot and alone in a parking lot. Weeks later, his mom, Leila Cavett, remains at large, and her family fears the worst.
A Mysterious Disapperance
According to the mother’s Facebook page, she lives in Atlanta, Georgia. Her family told reporters that they had no idea what she was doing in Florida.
“I FaceTimed her on July 17. We were on the phone for about an hour and she was fine,” one of her sisters said. “She didn’t have any plans to come to Florida, so we’re very confused right now.”
However, the FBI said that Cavett traveled to Florida in late July, arriving on the 25th, one day before Kamdyn was found. Residents at the Edge Apartments in Miramar found the toddler wandering in the complex’s parking lot. The boy was reportedly barefoot in a T-shirt and a diaper.
A frantic search for the boy’s parents ensued as police went door-to-door asking questions with no results. After they reached out to the public with photos of Kamdyn, family members came forward and identified the toddler.
The Search for Leila Cavett
After weeks of local law enforcement searching, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has gotten involved with the case. Investigators have been able to trace Cavett’s whereabouts in the days leading up to her disappearance. However, her reasons for traveling to Florida and the direct cause of her disappearance remain mysterious.
Authorities say Cavett traveled with her son from Georgia to South Florida in a white Silverado 3500 pickup truck. One surveilance photo showed her in a Cracker Barrel restaurant in Vero Beach, Florida on the evening of July 24.
The next afternoon, surveillance cameras caught Cavett at a Race Trac gas station in Hollywood, Florida. The images show her entering and exiting a Lexus sedan.
More photos show Cavett holding her son at the same gas station at about 10:20 later that night.
According to the FBI, the last confirmed sighting of Cavett was the following morning, hours before her son was found. Her white pickup truck was found in a nearby Walmart parking lot on July 28.
An Appeal for Information
The FBI released the surveillance photos on August 13, reaching out to the public for any information on Cavett’s whereabouts.
“We believe some people who are familiar with the circumstances surrounding Leila’s disappearance remain in our community, while some have left the area,” Special Agent George Piro said in a press release. “For those who have already been interviewed, we thank you for your cooperation, as we may be asking for your help again.”
Meanwhile, Kamdyn was reportedly placed in foster care by the Florida Department of Children and Families after being found.
“Leila’s separation from her son is completely out of character,” Piro said. “Her family and others in our community are very concerned about her safety and well-being. Thanks to our community, Kamdyn is safe and being cared for.”
The FBI noted that Cavett is 5 feet, 4 inches tall and weighs about 120 pounds. She has two tattoos — a Jesus fish on her right wrist and “Kamdyn” inscribed on her inner right arm. The bureau urges anyone with information to call FBI Miami at 1-800-CALL-FBI or go to FBI.gov/tips.
“Regardless of how insignificant you think your information might be, or whether you think we already are aware of it, I urge you to come forward, even anonymously, and allow the FBI to make that determination,” Piro said.
UPDATE 8/19/2020 — Witness Arrested
A witness who claimed to have seen Cavett shortly before she disappeared has been arrested by federal authorities.
People reports that Shanon Demar Ryan, 38, posted videos to Facebook claiming that he saw Cavett getting into a car with men she had just met. He also said he was aware that authorities were investigating him.
“If you think I am guilty, come get me. Know what energy you are playing with,” said Ryan, who describes himself as a witch, spiritual adviser, and teacher on his profile. “I know they are trying to make a connection of me to her. You are going to be wasting your motherf—ing time when you could have been looking for her.”
Authorities arrested Ryan on Saturday, August 15 on two counts of lying to a federal officer. Since then, authorities have added a kidnapping charge related to a missing person believed to be Cavett. According to CNN, surveillance footage captured Ryan at the apartment complex where Kamdyn was found, and he used Cavett’s debit card to buy trash bags, carpet cleaner and duct tape.
Leila Cavett — Sources
CBS 4 News
CNN – “An arrest has been made in the case of a Georgia mom who mysteriously disappeared in Florida”
CNN – “The FBI is asking for the public’s help after a Georgia mom mysteriously disappeared in Florida”
Local 10 News