Body of Missing Texas Girl, 4, Found Inside Garbage Bag in Arkansas — and Stepdad Is Charged
A tip from a community activist led authorities to Maleah Davis' body.
June 3, 2019
Authorities have confirmed finding the body of Maleah Davis, a 4-year-old Texas girl who was reported missing more than three weeks ago.
Maleah’s body was found Friday inside a garbage bag, dumped alongside a highway in Arkansas. According to investigators, a roadside work crew found the little girl’s remains.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner spoke to the press on Friday, saying detectives received a tip from a community activist, which shifted the search for Maleah.
The activist, Turner explained, met with Derion Vence, Maleah’s stepfather, who has been in custody since May 11.
Turner said the remains that were found in Arkansas were that of a child’s, but it wasn’t until Monday morning that medical examiners confirmed the body was Maleah’s.
Vence, 26, reported Maleah missing, allegedly telling authorities he was knocked unconscious in a carjacking and that the little girl had been abducted by three Hispanic men.
She was last seen on May 3.
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A cause of death has not been released yet.
Vence allegedly gave shifting accounts about what happened to Maleah, raising investigators’ suspicions.
According to police, Vence was taken into custody after blood was found in the hallway and bathroom of the apartment Vence shared with Maleah’s mother.
The blood matched DNA samples lifted from the girl’s toothbrush.
Surveillance video at the apartment complex allegedly shows Vence leaving with a bottle of Clorox, a laundry basket and a garbage bag.
Before the discovery of the girl’s body, Vence had been charged with tampering with evidence, specifically a human corpse. It is unclear if he will face additional charges.
Vence remains jailed on a $1 million bond. An attorney who might speak on his behalf was not immediately identified.