MESQUITE (CBSDFW.COM) – Family friends of Shania Gray held up dozens of medals that the 16-year-old had won throughout her life — gold, silver and bronze medals she had won running track, playing soccer and playing basketball. Not only was she a talented athlete, but Gray also loved to sing. She had a close relationship with her friends and family. So, when Gray disappeared on Thursday afternoon, they knew that something was terribly wrong.
Gray had recently transferred to Hebron High School from Horn High School in Mesquite. She was last seen at Hebron High School just after 4:00 p.m. on Thursday. Sherry James reported her daughter missing on Friday and alerted police that her daughter was the victim in a felony criminal offense in which 30-year-old Franklin Davis was the suspect.
Davis was arrested in July 2011 and charged with four counts of sexual assault of a child. His trial was set for October 29, 2012.
Then, on Friday night, police arrested Davis on unrelated traffic warrants. During the course of questioning, he confessed to police that he had shot and killed Gray. “It’s also our understanding that Davis had been facing criminal charges where Shania was a victim of those offenses,” said Officer Jon Stoval with the Carrollton Police Department. “We believe that is probably the motive for Davis killing Shania Gray.”
According to the arrest affidavit, through cell phone records, police were able to see that Gray and Davis had been in contact on Thursday. Records also revealed that the cell phones of both Davis and Gray were in the same areas at the same times, including Hebron High School, at around 4:00 p.m. on Thursday.
Davis revealed to police that he made contact with Gray through Facebook, and he admitted to posing as someone else, the affidavit states. Davis said that he had gained Gray’s confidence in hopes of getting more “evidence” concerning the pending felony case where Gray was the victim. The affidavit also states that Gray was surprised to see Davis when he picked her up at Hebron High School. He told her that he wanted to talk about the case.
On the road to Campion Trails at Valley View Lane, according to the affidavit, Gray spotted Davis with a .380-caliber pistol. They exited the vehicle and walked toward the Trinity River. Davis brought the gun and shot Gray twice. Gray fell partially into the river and asked, “Why, Wish?” — using a nickname.
Davis told police that he pulled Gray back onto the riverbank and stepped on her neck until she stopped breathing. He later led authorities to the location and showed them a pond at the intersection of Royal Lane and Las Colinas Boulevard where the pistol was thrown.
Family friends said that Gray had babysat for Davis’ children. That had been arranged through Davis’ ex. Friends said that Gray had been molested by Davis. Sherry Ramsey, a close family friend, said that Davis constructed an elaborate tale to get Gray to meet with him, and had started posing as a 16-year-old boy on Facebook to try to get Gray to meet with him. “He changed his appearance, changed his car. Obviously his picture on Facebook was not a picture of him, so he worked really hard to get this done,” she said.
Friends and family members are heartbroken over the loss. Gray’s parents declined to talk on camera. “I’m very angry. He took away a precious life. I forgive him. I’m just very hurt,” said Ramsey. “She hadn’t even gotten a chance to start living her life.”
Gray and her best friend, Kia Jones, were always mistaken for twins. “It was like part of my heart was ripped to pieces,” Jones said, “and nobody can put it back together. She was like the other half of my heart. She was like a real sister.”
Now, Jones’ other half is gone. But she’ll never be forgotten. A candlelight vigil is scheduled for Monday at 7:00 p.m. at Horn High School. Students are asked to wear black.
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