Although people following the case of missing 4-year-old Maleah Davis had braced themselves about the possible outcome of not finding little Maleah alive, the pain of receiving the news that the human remains found in Arkansas actually belonged to her, is still a painful pill for many to swallow and provides a bit of closure to an emotional and tragic situation.
Earlier Monday morning, the Harris County Medical Examiner’s Office positively made the identification of the remains as belonging to little Maleah, although no cause or manner of death has been determined as of yet.
It was on Friday that community activist Quanell X informed investigators that the man who was the prime suspect in little Maleah’s disappearance, 26-year-old Derion Vence, made the confession that she was dead and that he had dumped the body of the little girl on the side of the road in a ditch in Arkansas.
As reported, a roadside mowing crew working along Interstate 30 near Fulton, Arkansas, contacted authorities over the weekend after discovering the garbage bag that contained little Maleah’s remains, after running over it with their lawnmowers. Once the roadside mowing crew inspected the garbage bag further, they saw the remains of what looked like a child and blood inside of it.
Authorities arrived on the scene and were not able to determine whether the human remains belonged to little Maleah, so the remains were processed by Arkansas State Police and then an airplane transported them to the Harris County Medical Examiner back in Texas.
Now, the Harris County Medical Examiner’s Office is tasked with testing the evidence and doing an autopsy on what’s left of little Maleah’s body to determine the manner in which she died, as well as the primary cause. According to experts like Texas EquuSearch founder and director Tim Miller, however, determining the cause of death will be “impossible.”
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo released the following statement:
We are all saddened by the confirmation of the identification of the remains brought home to the Houston by members of the Houston Police Department as Maleah Davis. However, we are heartened by the fact this sweet child can now receive the proper burial she deserved and that those who knew and loved her most desired. The Houston Police Department will continue to work diligently with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office and other partners to ensure the person(s) responsible for her death, and the attempted cover-up of her death, are held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. We want to thank the entire Houston community and beyond and especially the work of the crew in Arkansas who found her remains during routine maintenance work. HPD will not rest until justice is served in this case.
As of today, Vence is still in the Harris County jail, still facing a charge of evidence tampering.
“The defendant remains charged with tampering with a corpse,” according to a statement from the Harris County District Attorney’s Office. “Prosecutors continue their review and are working with Houston Police. Additional charges would be filed as the evidence supports doing so. We remain focused on finding the truth and delivering justice for Maleah.”
According to Quanell X, Vence told him that little Maleah’s death was a result of an accident, although he did not provide any details what kind of accident caused her death.
“All I know is that he (Vence) told me that he pulled over in Arkansas, got out of the car, walked off the side of the road and dumped her (Maleah’s) body off the side of the road,” said Quanell X.
Quanell X also stated that Vence did not disclose whether Maleah’s mother, Brittany Bowens, knew anything about these disturbing new details surrounding little Maleah’s disappearance.
After receiving this new information from Vence, Quanell X convened a meeting in a parking lot in southwest Houston with investigators and with Texas EquuSearch, who had been searching for little Maleah’s body here in the Greater Houston area since her disappearance.
This has been a true rollercoaster of emotions for many in the community who have sought answers relative to little Maleah’s disappearance.
During a CPS hearing last week, little Maleah’s biological father, Craig Davis, testified that he spoke with Vence, who refused to allow him to see his daughter the day before she was reported missing, claiming little Maleah had the flu. According to Davis, he and his sister showed up to the apartment where little Maleah lived with Vence and Bowens and asked to see little Maleah, who was allegedly asleep in her room, but Vence refused to allow him to see his daughter. Davis also testified that Bowens had initially called him and asked him to take little Maleah to the doctor earlier in the week because something was wrong with her, but was later told that his assistance was no longer needed because Vence was going to take her to the doctor instead.
Also last week, Quanell X, who had been representing Bowens relative to the case, abruptly stopped representing her and told the media that he no longer believed she was being truthful about what she knew about what happened to little Maleah.
In a social media post last week, Quanell X said:
I would like to take this time to make clear why I decided to step away from Brittany Bowens regarding Maleah Davis. My team and I have spent countless hours and days investigating and have spent extensive time talking with Ms. Bowens in person and over the phone…I would like to share with you, Brothers and Sisters some of the FACTS of this case and the tragedy and disappearance of young, precious Maleah Davis. From the moment that I got involved in Maleah Davis’ case, my soul purpose was NOT to protect any adult in this tragic circumstance. My soul desire was to find out what happened to Maleah Davis and where she is. In our (my team) investigation, we learned a lot of disturbing facts about this case. 1) Brittany confessed to me that she DID help cover up physical abuse from the hands of Maleah’s stepdad, Derion Vence 2) Brittany admitted to me that Derion had beaten Maleah so severely with a belt, that she wanted to take her to the emergency room but Derion (the stepdad) told her that they couldn’t because he was “not going to take the fall for it” (meaning the abuse of Maleah). 3) Brittany admitted to me that the day she left for the airport, she discovered that Derion was sending nude photos of his private parts to another man and that while she was at the airport, she confronted him with this information. I said to Brittany, “how could you leave your daughter with a man that you know has physically abused your child, bathed your daughter without your permission, secretly brought her home from daycare without your knowledge, and was sending nude photos of himself to another man…and you still left Maleah with Derion to go out of town?” Her answer made me sick to my stomach! 4. I learned that Brittany was communicating with Derion through his brother by sending messages to give to him while in jail. The moment that I asked her a question about what she believed really happened to Maleah, her response with so disturbing that it coincided with what we believed happened to Maleah. I immediately went and met with investigators at the highest level of this case to share with them everything that I had learned, and it was at that point, I decided to step away.
Lastly, Vence’s attorney filed a motion to stop representing him last week, claiming that Vence had failed to comply with the terms of their employment agreement and that payments had not been made to the attorney up to the date of the court filing.
This is a true tragedy.
Vence remains in custody and has been charged with tampering with evidence, and if convicted, he could be facing between 2 to 20 years in prison.
In memory of little Maleah, City of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, who has been actively following and publicly commenting about the case since the details of her disappearance came to light, released the following statement expressing his thoughts on the matter:
“My heart is heavy this afternoon upon hearing the medical examiner has positively identified the remains found in Arkansas last week as four-year-old Maleah Davis. Maleah was a sweet, beautiful, and innocent little girl who deserved a chance to enjoy life just like any other child. She belonged to our community, and we share a collective grief. As we learn more about her death and disappearance, I ask people to focus their energy on creating lasting changes in Maleah’s honor. Love your child and hold them close, volunteer at a shelter for women and children, support foster organizations or make a donation to your favorite charity in Maleah’s name. In Maleah’s memory, I have approved a request for Sunday June 9, to turn the Houston city hall lights pink, which was her favorite color. Just as the light will shine in her memory, we must continue to shine a light on the horrific circumstances that lead to her death and make a promise to protect all children in our community.”
Mayor Turner also announced that he would be joining hundreds of individuals who have been invited out to remember little Maleah outside of Houston City Hall on Sunday, June 9th at 7:54 a.m., which represents the very last time little Maleah was believed to have been seen alive on surveillance video walking behind Vence wearing her pink tutu. As Mayor Turner mentioned in his statement, pink was Maleah’s favorite color. Everyone who plans to attend the event on Sunday is being asked to wear pink in little Maleah’s memory. From there, organizers have stated they plan to walk from Houston City Hall to the Harris County jail where Vence is currently being held, and plans to have everyone, especially young children, shout out little Maleah’s name repeatedly so that Vence can hear it and remember what happened to her.
The Forward Times will continue to monitor the details of this case. We will also keep our readers updated on whether the Harris County Medical Examiner is able to determine the manner and cause of death of 4-year-old Maleah Davis, and whether any additional charges will be forthcoming not that her remains have been properly identified.
May little Maleah FINALLY be able to rest in peace!