Derion Vence, the suspect in the death of Houston 4-year-old Maleah Davis, defended himself in an interview with ABC13. "I would never do anything to hurt her. That's not me," Vence said. "I ain't no killer, bro." Vence, the ex-fiancé of the little girl's mother Brittany Bowens, was arrested after Maleah’s disappearance in early May and charged with tampering with evidence of a human corpse.
Police found traces of blood evidence linked to the girl in the bathroom and hallway of the apartment Vence shared with Bowens and Maleah, who was first reported missing on May 4. Police confirmed that the child remains found in Arkansas on Friday during a search belonged to Maleah.
Authorities have not released the cause and manner of death yet. Speaking with ABC13, Vence claimed that “nothing bad happened to Maleah,” and that “she didn’t suffer.” He said that the truth would come out and declined to speak further on the subject without his lawyer present.
"I should be home with my family. With Maleah, the kids, and Brittany, cooking dinner and watching Netflix," Vence said. "Nothing bad happened to Maleah."
The last footage of Maleah was captured on April 30, a few days before she was reported missing. Security footage shows Vence and the girl walking into the apartment together. On May 3, Vence is seen carrying multiple bottles of bleach in and out of the apartment, as well as a laundry basket containing a black garbage bag.
The search for Maleah led police 320 miles from Houston to Hope, AR, after Vence reportedly told activist Quanell X, Bowens’ former spokesperson, that he dumped the child’s body there. Quanell X had visited Vence in jail.
“One thing he wanted to make clear to me was [that] what happened to Maleah was an accident,” Quanell X told ABC13. “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.” The bag of remains was found in Fulton, AR, 13 miles from Hope.
Vence originally told police he was on his way to George Bush Intercontinental Airport on May 3 with both Maleah and his 1-year-old son, when he allegedly pulled over to check for a flat tire. He claimed three Latino men attacked him, and that when he woke up from being unconscious Maleah was gone. He said he went to a nearby hospital, where he reported the girl and his car, a Nissan Altima, missing. However, surveillance footage shows Vence getting dropped off at the hospital in the same car he reported stolen.
Maleah was under Vence’s care when she was reported missing, because Bowens was out of town for her father’s funeral. Bowens recently broke off her engagement with Vence after allegedly discovering that he had sent sexually explicit images of himself to another man. Bowens claimed that Vence may have snapped in anger after she broke off their engagement.
“I'm not gay, and I didn't hurt Maleah," Vence said on Tuesday.
Bowens told ABC13 that she is distraught about her daughter’s death. “I’ve been keeping my focus on Maleah. Every day I think about Maleah, every single day,” Bowens said. "I just want the truth of what happened. Not some narrative that was created by somebody else."