Shaq Foots Bill for Shaniya's Funeral

NBA great was touched by news coverage of terrible crime
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 26, 2009 10:20 AM CST

(Newser) – Touched by the girl's story, Shaquille O’Neal paid for the funeral of Shaniya Davis. More than 2,000 people gathered Sunday to mourn the slain North Carolina 5-year-old, allegedly prostituted by her mother and raped and asphyxiated by another man. Shaq got in touch with the girl’s father after her body was identified. The funeral director who handled the arrangements declined to say how much the services cost but estimated that a child’s funeral “averages around $4,500,” reports the Fayetteville Observer.

“I was sitting at home watching it on the news and the story brought a tear to my eye,” the Cleveland Cavaliers center told the Plain Dealer. “Being a law enforcement guy that investigates crimes against children”—Shaq has completed reserve officer’s training—“I wanted to be able to help in some way.” (Read more Shaquille O'Neal stories.)

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