The only suspect in the murder of Maleah Davis insists he is no killer. In an emotional interview with ABC's sister station KTRK, Derion Vence said he did not kill the girl who was like a daughter to him.
Vence, 27, said he would never hurt Maleah, whose scattered remains were recovered from a highway ditch in Arkansas last week.
"I ain't no killer, bro," Vence told ABC 13's Chauncy Glover in a tearful jailhouse interview. "Chauncy, I loved Maleah so much. I did for her more than her own parents. I never had a biological daughter. I would never do anything to hurt her. That's not me. Ask anyone who knows me, and they'll tell you I'm not that type of dude and I was good with the kids."
His demeanor was far different from the one described by Houston community activist Quanell X, who said Vence was "arrogant" and did not show remorse during his jailhouse confession on Friday.
Vence reportedly told Quanell he "accidentally" killed the child in a fit of rage after her mother, Brittany Bowens, called him a homosexual and ended their engagement.
Vence told KRTK he loved Maleah like his own child. He said he took responsibility for Maleah and her 7-year-old brother because Bowens was never around.
"I should be home with my family. With Maleah, the kids and Brittany, cooking dinner and watching Netflix," Vence said. When asked about Maleah's death, he said, "Nothing bad happened to Maleah."
Maleah was last seen on a neighbor's surveillance camera entering her mother's apartment with Vence on April 30.
Vence reported Maleah missing on May 4. He said she was abducted by three Hispanic males after he pulled over on a highway to check his tires on the night of May 3.
Police arrested Vence on May 11 and charged him with tampering with a corpse. He reportedly directed police to the location where Maleah's remains were found along I-30 near Hope, AK.
Vence allegedly told Quanell X that he placed Maleah's body in a black trash bag, put her in the trunk of her mother's silver Nissan Altima, and drove her to Arkansas, where he discarded her remains in a wooded area.
Houston Police Department Chief Art Acevedo said Vence is a liar. "You could drive a big rig right through the tales this guy has been telling," Acevedo said.
Bowens told KRTK she finally accepted her daughter's death when she was told over the phone that the remains belonged to Maleah.
"I think at that moment that's when reality hit, that it was her, in that bag, sitting along that street," Bowens told KTRK. "It's not fair. It's not fair at all. I just, I just don't understand this. It's not fair, because she didn't deserve that."