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A self-proclaimed witch with ties to a missing Georgia mother, whose toddler son was found wandering alone on the Florida streets, has been arrested.
Shanon Demar Ryan, 38, was taken into custody Saturday and charged with two counts of lying to federal officers, according to Broward County jail records. Investigators have not said whether the charges are connected to the disappearance of 21-year-old Leila Cavett or what false statements they allege he made.
Cavett was last seen on July 25, in Hollywood, Florida. Her 2-year-old son was found wandering in a parking lot in Miramar the next day, but there was no sign of the missing mom.
Ryan—who describes himself as witch, tarot instructor and “master of the Occult Arts” on his Facebook profile—has claimed he was the last person to see Cavett at a RaceTrac gas station in Hollywood, Florida before she disappeared.
“Why is it you have a missing girl, or a missing woman, and the last person to see her, which is me, who talked to the police, you ain’t heard nothing about me,” he said in lengthy video on Facebook posted just days before his arrest.
In the nearly hour-long video, Ryan said he'd met Cavett more than a year before she disappeared and alleged she got in a car with some “guys in a black car” and drove off the night she vanished.
Ryan, who said in the video that he had more than “15 felonies” in his past, said he had been living in Muscle Shoals, Alabama when a dirty and distressed Cavett showed up at his door at 2 a.m. one morning during a thunderstorm with her baby in tow, claiming she was having car trouble.
He gave “her a spot in my living room” for the night. The next morning, Ryan said, Cavett revealed to him that her car hadn’t actually broken down; rather, she'd been traveling with a friend who left her while she was inside a store—giving the young mom no place to go.
He said in the video that he and a woman he'd been living with at the time agreed to give Cavett a place to stay. He started teaching her his philosophies, but alleged the young mom also participated in risky activities and often went off with men she didn’t know. He claimed she would often bring her son along to serve as a shield to keep her safe during the encounters.
After several months, he said Cavett decided to leave, further alleging that she'd stolen some of his property, including a cat, some oils and stones.
After discovering the alleged theft, Ryan said he “hexed her.” But about six or seven months later, they got in contact again, and “forgiveness [was] given.”
The lessons picked up once again, this time online, as the two continued to talk on-and-off for a few months.
“Leila is a witch. A natural witch, so powerful,” he said in the video.
He left Alabama to go to Florida to help a different female friend “holistically and magically” with healing, he said.
“She was the reason I was still in Florida,” Ryan explained in the video.
While he was in the Sunshine State, Ryan said Cavett reached out to him and told him she had recently traded her car for a truck.
“I said, ‘S---, let me buy that truck from you,’” Ryan said.
Ryan said Cavett agreed to sell him the truck for $3,500 and planned to come to Florida to act as his apprentice.
Ryan said he and Cavett met at a Hollywood gas station—in the same area where the truck would be recovered—and went to get some food before heading to an area beach.
“We smoked weed, we got high. She went out on the beach; I went to go work out,” he said, adding that Cavett’s son had also been along on the outing.
Afterward, Ryan said, they went to the Cheesecake Factory and then he thought they “ended up eventually going back toward Hollywood” to the gas station.
He said he woke up at the gas station to hear Cavett talking to some guys in a black car, who he said had asked her if she wanted to party.
“Leila got her and her son and got in the car with those guys,” he said, claiming he waited in a nearby parking lot for her to return but she never came back.
“[It's] got to be on camera,” he said of Cavett’s alleged interaction with the mystery men.
At some point after Cavett didn’t return, Ryan said he approached her truck and was suddenly swarmed by police.
Ryan claimed he let authorities search his car and look at his phone before he was released from the scene and drove off.
Ryan said authorities started asking his friends and acquaintances about him after the interview and eventually seized his phone from another friend.
“You got my phone. Go through it, search my whereabouts, look at where I’m at, look at where I’ve been, look at who I talk to, the only thing you’re gonna find out is you’ve wasted your motherf---ing time when you could have been looking for her,” he said to investigators during the video.
Throughout his posts on Facebook, Ryan repeatedly proclaimed his innocence and said he had nothing to do with the young mom’s disappearance.
“I am right here, I ain’t running from s---,” he said in another video. “So, if you think I am guilty, if anybody think I am guilty come f---with me.”
He claimed his past convictions, for what he said were drug and burglary offenses, made him appear like a likely suspect in the case.
Ryan claimed he told investigators everything he knew about the Cavett’s disappearance, but her family isn’t so convinced.
“I think he knows a little bit more in detail than what he’s telling the federal agents, but I’d like to let the agents do their job,” Cavett’s father, Curtis Cavett, told local station WSVN.
After news of Ryan’s arrest, Curtis said he was feeling a range of emotions.
“I’m happy, I’m sad, I’m mad, I’m upset,” he said.
Anyone with information about the case is urged to contact authorities.
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