Houston police have requested volunteers to assemble in a field near Highway 59 where Darion Vence claims his 4-year-old stepdaughter, Maleah Davis, was abducted by three Hispanic males on Friday evening.
Police issued an Amber Alert for the missing toddler late Saturday, after Vence claimed he was carjacked in northeast Houston.
According to ABC13's Stefania Okolie, volunteers with Texas EquuSearch will begin their search at a field near Highway 59 and Greens Road. Volunteers are also combing the woods on foot and on ATV along the freeway near First Colony Mall.
Police say Vence, 26, was on his way to George Bush airport to pick up Maleah's mother on Friday when he was forced to pull over in the 16500 block of the Southwest Highway.
Vence stated three Hispanic males in a 2010 blue Chevrolet crew cab pickup truck pulled up behind his car. One of the men commented on how "sweet" Maleah was. A second male hit him on the back of the head and forced him and the children into the truck.
Vence said he blacked out inside the truck and awoke nearly 24 hours later on the side of the highway. His 1-year-old son was with him, but Maleah and the three men were gone.
He walked around begging motorists for help, police say. He eventually walked with his toddler son to Houston Methodist Hospital in Sugar Land, arriving about 10 or 11 p.m.
Police say they can't account for a large gap in Vence's timeline.
Police say Maleah's mother, Brittany Bowens, who arrived on a flight from Massachusetts, called a relative to pick her up from the airport after Vence and the kids failed to show up late Friday.
Bowens didn't call police until Saturday morning because she was concerned after not hearing from Vence, police say.
On Monday, she tearfully told Okolie she was "terrified" for her daughter.
"My spirit is so broken. I feel so lost. I can't concentrate. I can't focus. It's so overwhelming for me. It doesn't seem real," she said.
EXCLUSIVE: The mother or 4YO Maleah Davis tells me her life feels shattered without her daughter. She was out of state when the stepfather says they were abducted. She fears for her daughter and who she may be with. I have full report at 4. #Abc13 https://t.co/fhuxuGzaag pic.twitter.com/3C6G2tfRuz
— Stefania Okolie (@StefaniaOnABC13) May 6, 2019
Maleah is in urgent need of medical care after undergoing a brain surgery last month. Yet her mother waited until the next morning to call police.
According to ABC13, a traffic camera captured an image of the family's stolen silver 2011 Nissan Altima driving through an intersection in Sugar Land at 2:54 p.m. on Saturday - around the time when Vence claimed he was unconscious.
— Houston Police (@houstonpolice) May 5, 2019
The silver Nissan Altima with paper license tags 330-92G9 is still missing. Police are reportedly preparing to drag the bottom of lakes near the First Colony Mall for the missing vehicle.
Anyone who saw a man carrying a baby between Friday evening and Saturday at 6 p.m. is urged to contact HPD at 713 308-3600 or Crime Stoppers at 713 222-TIPS.
"We'd love the public to help us so we can fill in the blanks in this story," said Holbrook who stopped short of saying he didn't believe Vence's story.
"I don't want to speculate," he said, explaining the purpose of Sunday's press conference was to get the public's help "to figure out what really happened."