Additional charges have been filed in the death of Texas girl Maleah Davis, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office announced Monday.
Derion Vence, 28, is now charged with injury to a child/serious bodily injury in Davis’ death — a first-degree felony carrying a penalty of five to 99 years in prison. The new charges come just weeks after a grand jury indicted the Houston man on charges of tampering with evidence, namely a corpse.
“After a review of all the evidence, including autopsy results, prosecutors determined there’s sufficient evidence to charged Vence with intentionally and knowingly causing serious bodily injury to a child younger than 15 years of age,” Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said in a statement.
Vence’s previous charge of tampering is second-degree felony that carries a penalty of two to 20 years in prison, and authorities say more charges could come as they continue investigating..
The 4-year-old’s body was discovered along a busy highway in Arkansas on May 31, nearly a month after Vence reported her missing. Vence is the ex- fiance of Davis’ mother, Brittany Bowens.
At the time, Vence told authorities that he, Davis and his infant son were abducted during an alleged carjacking by three Latino men. He claimed he was knocked unconscious during the assault and awoke to find his car and the little girl gone.
He later confessed to dumping the child’s body on the side of the road in a jailhouse meeting with community activist Quanell X, leading investigators to Davis’ remains. Harris County prosecutors allege that Vence hid the girl’s body so that it wouldn’t be accessible to Houston PD detectives during their sweeping investigation.
A medical examiner determined last month that Davis’ died as the result of homicidal violence. The manner of her death is still unknown.
Bowens, who broke off her engagement with Vence shorty before her daughter’s disappearance, responded to the new charges on Monday.
“It’s not fair to Maleah,” she said, according to ABC 13 Action News. “At this point I want to know what happened to my daughter. The fact that he went through a great extent to cover himself is unbelievable. It’s not enough. These charges aren’t enough. But I have faith justice will prevail. Maleah, we love you forever.”
Quanell X, a former spokesman for Bowens, has since cut ties with the mother and said he believes she should also be held accountable for Maleah’s death.
“She has to be because she could’ve did a much better job in protecting that beautiful young baby,” he said earlier this year.
Vence’s next court appearance is scheduled for Wednesday, August 7.
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