Federal charges against man in missing Georgia mom case dropped; now faces state charge

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - A man at the center of an investigation involving a missing mother now faces a different charge.

Forty-year-old Shannon Ryan listened silently to the judge at his bond hearing, Thursday. He faces a state charge of child neglect without grave bodily harm.

Federal prosecutors dropped their case against Ryan. The self-proclaimed witch doctor had been accused of lying to police and kidnapping at the federal level.

Ryan, who has been behind bars since last summer, was booked into the Broward County Jail on Wednesday.

Ryan was implicated in the disappearance of 21-year-old Leila Cavett, who traveled from Georgia to South Florida.

Cavett was last seen near Ryan’s Lexus at a RaceTrac gas station in Hollywood.

At the time, Ryan said he met Cavett there so they could buy her truck, but he added, that she and her 2-year-old son left the gas station with someone else.

“There were some guys in a car that she’s talking to,” said Ryan in a video he posted to Facebook. “Leila got her and her son and got in the car with those guys.”

The next morning, Cavett’s son was found alone in a Miramar parking lot, and she hasn’t been seen since.

“Search my whereabouts, look at who I talked to, and you’re going to find out you wasted your [expletive] time,” said Ryan in the video.

Investigators believe Ryan left the boy in the parking lot.

At his hearing on Thursday, defense attorney Michael Farabarik pushed back.

“He was never seen leaving the child anywhere,” he said, “and all the photographs that were provided and everything else, he’s never seen alone with the child.”

But prosecutor Lanie Bandell said one photograph and other evidence raise questions about the suspect.

“There is the photograph of a person consistent with the description of the defendant, right where the defendant’s car is, and his cellphone records place him there as well,” she said.

But Cavett’s disappearance remains unsolved. It also remains unclear why Ryan’s federal kidnapping charge was dropped.

Prosecutors asked for a bond of $100,000, and that gives Ryan a shot at a release from jail possible but unlikely.

“We’re concerned, because he has followers through Facebook, all over the country,” said Bandell. “The state is definitely concerned about his flight risk, and for those reasons we’re asking for the high bond.”

The judge granted prosecutors’ request for a $100,000 bond. If he is able to post bond, Ryan will be required to wear a GPS ankle monitor.

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