Maleah Davis is no longer missing. Law enforcement officials in Hope, Arkansas have recovered a black bag believed to contain the remains of the 4-year-old Houston girl who was the subject of an intense search for over a month.
Hempstead County Sheriff James Singleton told reporters a road crew detected a foul odor and found a black trash bag containing bones and other items stained with blood.
Houston community activist Quanell X told police where the child’s body could be found after he spoke with suspect Derion Vence, who confessed to killing the girl by accident.
Vence was arrested on May 11 and charged with tampering with a corpse. On May 4, he told police he was carjacked by three Hispanic males the night before and knocked unconscious. He said he awoke on Saturday, around 6 p.m. and discovered his 2-year-old son was with him but Maleah was gone. Police and the public doubted his story from the beginning.
Quanell said he’d met earlier Thursday with Vence at the jail where he is being held on $45,000 bond. Vence, 26, confessed that Maleah was killed “by accident” and he dumped her body not far from an exit ramp off Highway 30 just over the Texas border in Hope, Arkansas.
Quanell said Vence was specific about the “distance and time” of the body’s location.
“He said he pulled over in Arkansas, got out of the car, walked off the side of the road, and dumped her body off the side of the road,” Quanell told reporters on Thursday.
Houston police arrived in Hope, Arkansas on Thursday afternoon to collect the remains.
Quanell said Maleah’s remains had been dumped there early on, indicating that she was dumped in Arkansas soon after she was killed.
Quanell told reporters on Thursday that he was no longer acting as spokesperson for Maleah’s mother, Brittany Bowens, because he believed she had not been truthful.
Quanell told KHOU 11 that he saw red flags after just two days on the job. The activist claimed sources in Bowens’ family told him troubling details about Maleah’s care.
“Ain’t no way in hell a parent with common sense would have handled this entire situation the way Brittany handled this entire situation,” Quanell said.
“Maleah didn’t have to die. That little girl did not have to die,” Quanell later told KHOU 11, while wiping away tears. “That child was being physically abused and physically tortured in that house and they were covering it up. It’s a damn shame that her mother chose her mate over her own daughter.”
Child Protective Services removed Maleah and her two brothers from the apartment in August while investigating Maleah’s traumatic head injury. Bowens told investigators the child hit her head on the corner of the kitchen table.
CPS advised keeping the children in foster care but Judge Gloria Lopez, who had only been sworn in the month before, ordered the children returned to Bowens in February.