A man facing charges of raping a teenage girl two years ago murdered the 16-year-old last week so that she could not testify against him in his upcoming sexual assault trial, said police.
Franklin Davis, 30, of Irving, Texas, confessed to shooting dead Shania Gray after he was arrested on unrelated driving offenses on Friday and police began questioning him about the girl's death.
Davis allegedly raped and sexually assaulted Gray in 2010 when she babysat for his two children. In July 2011, he was charged with four counts of sexual abuse and was released on bail the following month.
On Thursday, after Davis allegedly set up a fake Facebook profile pretending to be a teenage boy in order to lure Gray into seeing him, Davis met up with the schoolgirl, drove her to a remote park and killed her, police said.
Using the fake profile, Davis sent the schoolgirl messages saying they had mutual friends and that he had a crush on her. He told her he would stop by her school to say hello on Thursday, Sherry Ramsey, a close friend of the victim’s family, told The Dallas Morning News.
Around 4pm Thursday, after finishing her second day at a new high school, the 16-year-old believed she was meeting up with her new Facebook friend. Instead, she was picked up by Davis, who then drove her to the secluded Campion Trails Park in Irving, fatally shot her and dumped her body in a nearby river, according to police.
It is not clear what made Gray get into Davis’ car, whether she was held at gunpoint or if Davis was wearing a disguise, said Ramsey. Gray's family say she would not have got into Davis' car willingly.
The two first met when Gray babysat for Davis’ two children. Davis and his wife were separated but he would sometimes come to the home when Gray was babysitting, reported the Morning News.
After the teenager turned down many babysitting requests, Gray told her grandmother that Davis had raped her. He told Gray at the time of the assaults that he would kill her if she told anyone, Ramsay said.
The family went to the police and, in July 2011, Davis was charged with four counts of sexual assault of a child.
She was also a sports star.
Gray’s family say they did not know of any contact between their daughter and Davis since he allegedly raped and sexually assaulted her. His trial was scheduled for October 29 and police believe that Davis killed the 16-year-old so that she could not testify against him. A police investigation was launched after Gray’s family reported the schoolgirl missing on Friday morning.
On Saturday afternoon, a body was found in the Trinity River on the border of Irving and Dallas, which was later identified as Gray’s.
Carrollton police had arrested Davis on unrelated traffic offenses on Friday and held him in jail. They then began questioning him about Gray’s death and say he confessed to the murder after her body was found.
Police retrieved the weapon, a 38 Calibre pistol, from a nearby pond. Davis was charged with capital murder on Sunday and is being held at Dallas County Jail.
Police believe that no one else was involved with Gray's murder.