16-year-old Shania Gray – Lured to an “offline” meeting and killed – Keeping Kids Safe Online

Shania Gray, 16, was last seen alive at Hebron High School in Carrollton, Texas.  Her body was found days later near the Trinity River.  Franklin B. Davis, 30, allegedly used social media to lure her to a meeting, where he abducted her from school, drove her to a river, and killed her.

Sherry Ramsey, a spokesperson for Gray’s family, told the Dallas Morning News that Gray met Davis when she babysat his children.  The teen declined additional babysitting requests, and confided in her grandmother that Davis had raped her. The crime was reported to police and Davis was charged with four counts of sexual assault of a child. Carrollton police said in an email that they believe Davis killed Gray because she was about to testify against him.  Ramsey said Davis warned Gray that he would kill her if she told anyone about the rape.

According to the arrest warrant, Davis contacted Gray through a social media outlet and pretended to be someone else.  Davis then used a pre-paid cell phone to set up a meeting with Gray at her high school.  Police says Davis confessed to shooting her twice with a .38-caliber pistol. Davis told police he then stepped on her neck until she stopped breathing, the affidavit said.

In a jailhouse interview, Davis stated that he tracked Gray down because he wanted to prove his innocence in the sexual assault case.  “I needed to get some kind of evidence, some kind of proof myself to show I did not have sex with her and that she’s lying,” Davis told the television station. He said he didn’t intend to harm Gray but was overcome in the moment.   Davis stated that Gray was surprised to see him but got into his car when he told her he wanted to talk to hear about the sexual assault case, and she was killed within an hour.

As I write this I am overcome with emotion and tears. Shania is a hero for honoring herself and reporting the rape, unfortunately the coward Franklin B. Howard decided his life was worth more.

Parents, if you don’t listen to my plea about keeping kids safe Online, I ask you to simply sit with this story for a while.  Look at Shania’s picture, read her story, and think about your child.  We cannot turn our heads, we cannot use any more excuses, and we must have the conversation and be engaged.

Unfortunately there are many people out there creating fake profiles and scheduling meet-ups with our children.  All of the encounters don’t end in death, but “one” is too many.

Tips to Keeps Kids Safe Online

Offline Meetings.  If someone “online” approaches your child about meeting “offline,” that is a red flag.  Tell your child to never accept that offer, even if they feel they know the person.

Discuss the Definition of a friend.  An “online” friend is someone you know in real life.  My rule of thumb for my daughter is that if I have not met the friends parents, if they have not visited our home, and/or if I have not visited their home – they are not be friended online.  We also have a rule where we discuss who she is adding to any friend list.  Bottom-line:  A friend is not a “friend of a friend” or someone you “kind of” know.

Get involved:  Do you know your child’s face book friends, who are they following on twitter, what apps have they downloaded, what pictures are they posted on Instagram, who are they texting, what are their social media privacy settings?  If you can’t answer these questions, the time is now.  Get in their business!

Share stories:  As with adults, children are more apt to believe a true story.  Share stories of what’s going on with teens as it relates to Social Media mistakes.  They need to understand the consequences of their actions and what they can do to avoid life-altering events.

Join my Blog or Social Media Sites:  My blog and social media sites are constantly updated with “real stories,” to keep parents and teens aware of what’s really going on.  You are not alone, you don’t have to know it all, I am relentless about keeping kids safe Online.  There are many ways you can receive update to information from me:

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4 Responses to 16-year-old Shania Gray – Lured to an “offline” meeting and killed – Keeping Kids Safe Online

  1. FaLessia says:

    I applaud Shania for telling someone about the rape. That was incredibly brave. Her death is sad. Kids want so much to be accepted, and to think that no one will hurt them. This monster should get the death penalty!

    • marlin says:

      FaLessia,

      I agree that Shania was a very brave girl and it’s tragic that this coward ended her life. This story really touched me and I will definitely be following the outcome of this trial. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

  2. Marlin,
    This is heart breaking. Now other children may be even more discouraged to speak up for fear that someone will find them.

    Online should be a safe place to engage.

    Thanks for keeping us posted and offering tips to embrace/support our children online.

    • marlin says:

      LaToniya,

      Shania was a very brave girl to speak up and I hope that others will choose to do the same. The Internet should be a safe place to engage, unfortunately there are people out there looking to harm our children. We must remain vigilante as it relates to monitoring our kid’s online activity. Thank you for your comment.

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