A scheduled court appearance for Maleah Davis suspect Derion Vence has been reset, Houston station KTRK reported.
The Wednesday hearing would’ve been Vence’s first since the 4-year-old’s remains were discovered along an Arkansas highway early last month. He remains jailed on a charge of tampering with evidence, namely, a corpse, in the young girl’s disappearance.
Maleah’s mother, Brittany Bowens, showed up to court guarded by Harris County deputy constables as protesters shouted criticisms at her. Members with the group Parents Against Predators for Life pressed Bowens about the case as she and her family waited outside the courtroom Wednesday.
Twitter video posted by KHOU reporter Janel Forte showed dozens of demonstrators, sporting T-shirts with printed photos of young Maleah, standing in the hall, waiting for the court to open.
“She doesn’t care,” one protester is heard saying, with Bowens standing just feet from her. “She’s not a mother. Bottom line.”
Bowens, who was formerly engaged to Vence, remained silent and refused to answer questions as she was eventually escorted out of the courtroom.
“Unfortunately, nothing happened today, but I am sure in due time, it will,” a family representative told KTRK as they left.
So far, no criminal charges have been announced against the girl’s mother. However, Bowens has come under increased scrutiny for what critics have called her failure to protect Maleah, 4, from harm.
Houston activist Quanell X, a former spokesman for Bowens who gleaned the confession from Vence that led police to Maleah’s remains, revealed at a press conference earlier this year that Bowens had suspicions that her then-fiancé was abusing her daughter. Speaking on her behalf, Quanell also said the couple had an explosive fight over lewd photos and broke off their engagement shortly before Maleah’s disappearance.
Bowens was out of town for a funeral when Vence, 28, reported the little girl missing following an alleged carjacking in May. Quanell cut ties with her later that month, saying he believed she knew more about her child’s disappearance than she initially let on.
“I have proof of what she said and what she admitted to,” he told Headline News in June.. “I do believe she will be charged and she should be charged. And if there’s any ounce of decency in her as a mother, she has to own up to the complicit, negligent role she played in the demise of Maleah.”
Last month, the medical examiner’s office ruled that Maleah’s death was the result of homicidal violence. The manner of her death remains unclear.
The 4-year-old was laid to rest during a private funeral on June 22.
Vence, the sole suspect in the case, has been jailed since May and has yet to see a judge since his initial bond hearing. Legal analyst Steve Shellist told KTRK that the court continuances suggest prosecutors’ pursuit of upgraded charges against the defendant.
“[Prosecutors] would not be satisfied with charging him and convicting him of a tampering-with-evidence charge,” said Shellist. “Right now the state is trying to figure out, ‘Can we file a capital murder charge? Do we have enough evidence?’ ‘Cause that’s what they want.”
Vence’s next court appearance has been scheduled for Sept. 16.
Watch more in the video below.