Human Remains Found During Expanded Search for Maleah Davis, 4, In Arkansas

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2015

The remains of what authorities believe are those of missing girl Maleah Davis, 4, have arrived in Houston after being recovered from a wooded junction in southwest Arkansas, station ABC 13 reported.

Houston police expanded their search for the young girl to Arkansas on Friday, where they discovered a bloodied black bag and human remains scattered along Interstate 30 in the city of Fulton. The suspect in the case, Derion Vence, confessed that he’d dumped Maleah’s body there after the little girl died on “accident.”

Maleah Davis
Maleah Davis, 4, was reported missing May 4 after her stepfather claims three men knocked him unconscious before fleeing with the little girl. (ABC 13 EyeWitness News / video screenshot)

“I was fearing there was never going to be an ending,” Texas EquuSearch founder Tim Miller, whose volunteers spent much of the month combing Houston for the any sign of young Maleah, told reporters Friday.

Authorities said the remains are that of a child, but can’t confirm if they belong to Maleah. The identity is pending the results of an autopsy.

“There is an ending,” Miller added. Certainly not the way we wanted it, not a scene we wanted to see, but unfortunately we can’t choose these things.”

It was longtime Houston activist Quanell X who gleaned the confession from Vence, 27, earlier Friday  and who shared the shocking details with local reporters. The information, which included details on where Vence had dumped little Maleah’s body, was enough for authorities and Texas Equusearch crews to expand their search to Hempstead County, Arkansas.

“[Vence] said he pulled over in Arkansas, got out of the car, walked off the side of the road, and dumped her body off the side of the road,” Quanell told reporters.

Hempstead County Sheriff James Singleton said it was a road crew who’d first come across the bag with a “foul odor.”

As reported by the Houston Chronicle, “a work crew mowing Interstate 30 discovered a bloodied black garbage bag earlier this week, but left it alone” with the assumption that its stench was from a discarded animal. On Friday, Singleton said a mower accidentally struck the bag, ripped it open and sent its contents scattering along the road.

Speaking to reporters, Singleton said Vence has no known connection to Hempstead County and has no idea why he chose there to dump the body.

“If you’re in law enforcement … you’re going to see horrible and cruel things,” the sheriff added. “There’s a lot of evil in the world.”

Authorities said a review of the remains is currently underway.

Davis was reported missing May 4 after Vence, her mother’s former fiancé , claimed she was kidnapped in an alleged carjacking the previous night. He told police he’d stopped to check his tire when suddenly he was attacked by three Latino men. Vence claimed he was knocked unconscious and woke up to find his car and the little girl gone.

Vence, his 1-year-old son, and Maleah were reportedly headed to the airport to retrieve the young girl’s mother, Brittany Bowens, who was out of town for a funeral, when the alleged attack occurred.

Vence quickly became a suspect in the case after authorities said there were inconsistencies in his account of the incident and that his story had changed “several times.”

The Texas man was arrested May 11 and remains jailed on charges of tampering with evidence, namely a corpse. He’s being held on $45,000 bond.

On Friday, Houston police said they anticipate a murder charge in the case.

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