Police Confirms 4-Year-Old Maleah Davis' Body Was Found In Arkansas

Photo: Courtesy of Davis Family.
The child remains found in Arkansas last week belong to Maleah Davis, the missing 4-year-old girl from Houston, the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences confirmed Monday. Authorities have not released the cause and manner of death yet.
Maleah was first reported missing on May 4 by Derion Vence, the ex-fiancé of her mother Brittany Bowens. Last month, Vence was arrested and charged with tampering with evidence of a human corpse after police found traces of blood evidence linked to the young girl in the bathroom and hallway of the apartment he shared with Bowens and Maleah.
The family was living in Houston, but the search for Maleah led police 320 miles away to Hope, AR, after activist Quanell X, who was acting as Bowens’ spokesperson, visited Vence in jail. Vence reportedly told Quanell X that he dumped Maleah's body there.
"One thing he wanted to make clear to me was [that] what happened to Maleah was an accident, he says it was an accident, And he confessed to me where he dumped the body," Quanell X told a local ABC affiliate. "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."
Vence reportedly added that he dumped the body “early on,” which means Maleah could have been in Arkansas since he reported her missing. The bag of remains was found in Fulton, AR, 13 miles from Hope.
Maleah was under Vence’s care when she was reported missing. Her mother was out of town at her father’s funeral. (Bowens has since said she and Vence got into a fight before she left and called off the engagement.) Vence told police he had both Maleah and his 1-year-old son in the car when he allegedly pulled over to check for a flat tire and three men attacked him. He said that when he woke up his son was there, but Maleah was gone. He claims to have gone to a nearby hospital, where he reported the girl and his car, a Nissan Altima, missing. However, surveillance shows Vence getting dropped off in the same car he reported stolen.
The last footage of Maleah was days before she was reported missing. Security footage shows Vence and the girl walking into the apartment on April 30, and Vence carrying multiple bottles of bleach in and out of the apartment and a laundry basket containing a black garbage bag on May 3.
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the search led police to Hope, AK, instead of Hope, AR.
This story was originally published on June 2, 2019. It has since been updated.

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