Remains found in Arkansas identified as Maleah Davis

HOUSTON – Human remains found in Arkansas last week are those of a missing Houston girl, Maleah Davis, officials in confirmed to KPRC 2.

Maleah Davis was reported as missing May 4 by her stepfather, Derion Vence, who was arrested a week later in connection with the 4-year-old girl's disappearance. KPRC 2 reported that Vence confessed to community activist Quanell X to disposing of Maleah's body in Arkansas and that the child's death was an accident. 


During a bail hearing last month, an assistant district attorney read aloud the charging document for Vence, which included details about the evidence police have obtained in the case.

Police noted they found blood in the hallway leading to the bathroom of the apartment Vence and Maleah's mother, Brittany Bowens, shared. Authorities said they found additional evidence in a Nissan Altima that Vence told authorities had been stolen when Maleah disappeared.

Derion Vence, who initially reported 4-year-old Maleah Davis missing, was arrested and booked into the Harris County jail in May on suspicion of tampering with a human corpse, according to police.

Vence was the last to see the child before he reported her as missing.

An Amber Alert was issued for Maleah on May 5 after Vence told authorities three men abducted him, Maleah and his 2-year-old son. Vence, authorities said, claimed that the three men made remarks about Maleah's appearance before knocking him unconscious and taking them in a blue Chevrolet truck.

Police said Vence told them he regained consciousness on a road in Sugar Land the next day and walked to a hospital for help. Houston authorities said Vence's story changed multiple times, and later named him as a suspect in Maleah's disappearance.

Vence told authorities that his silver Nissan Altima was taken in the abduction, but surveillance video shows that someone dropped Vence off at Methodist Sugar Land Hospital on May 5, a news release from the Houston Police Department states. 

Authorities found the vehicle in Missouri City, Texas.

Authorities revealed during Vence's bail hearing that Vence was seen carrying a blue laundry basket with a large black trash bag out of his apartment on May 3 and never returning. Officials said that Vence was also seen carrying cleaning supplies out of the apartment that same day.

According to police, the blue laundry basket was found in the trunk of the Silver Nissan along with gas cans. Court records state that cadaver dogs also alerted officers to the "scent of decomposition" in the trunk of the Nissan. After that, authorities secured a warrant for Vence's arrest.

Vence was apprehended in a Sugar Land neighborhood by the Gulf Coast Violent Offenders Task Force, Houston Police said.