HOUSTON, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – A month after Maleah Davis was last seen alive, a Houston community activist says the suspect in the girl’s disappearance told him the 4-year-old’s body was dumped in Arkansas, reports KTRK-TV.
On Friday, Quanell X, who advocated for Maleah’s mother, Brittany Bowens, told reporters about the new information he claimed to have received from Derion Vence, the suspect in the child’s disappearance.
Quanell said he met earlier in the day with Vence, who has remained behind bars since May 11. Vence lived with Maleah and her mother. Among the key details shared with reporters, Quanell said Maleah is dead as a result of an accident. He did not specify how she died.
“All I can say is he told me it was an accident, and that she is dead and where he dumped her body,” Quanell said.
Quanell met with reporters in a southwest Houston parking lot where he met with Texas EquuSearch and detectives about what Vence told him.
Quanell withheld where he was told the body was dumped, only to say it was somewhere in Arkansas. He added that 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,” Quannel said.
Quannel also revealed that Maleah’s body was dumped there “early on.” The time of her death was not indicated.
Vence was once engaged to Bowens.
Vence is in jail, facing a charge of tampering with evidence, namely a corpse. Police said they found blood in his apartment linked to the child. Law enforcement has not confirmed whether Maleah has died, but many officials indicated she is not likely alive.
Maleah was reported missing on May 4 by Vence, who was her primary caretaker while Bowens was out of town for a funeral.
But Sugar Land police, who initially interviewed him, said his story kept changing and didn’t add up.
Vence reported his silver Nissan Altima was taken in the abduction but surveillance video showed that vehicle was used to drop Vence off later at a hospital, where he reported the abduction, police said.
Additionally, surveillance video showed Vence carrying a full laundry basket from his apartment. That basket was later found in the trunk of the Nissan along with a gas can.
Quanell X said that Vence had abused Maleah.
Child Protective Services removed Maleah and her brothers from the home Vence and Bowens shared in August after the girl suffered a head wound, but the children were returned in February, according to an agency spokeswoman.
Since the arrest, Maleah’s mother drew ire from community members who believed she neglected the girl by putting her in harm’s way with Vence.
Houston police Chief Art Acevedo also weighed in, saying there were obvious holes in Vence’s story.
In addition, Maleah’s head injury and subsequent custody by CPS last year drew intense scrutiny of her mother. The girl, as well as her siblings, were returned to the home when her injuries were determined to be from a fall.
During the weeks of the search, a reward totaling up to $27,500 was offered for information leading to finding Maleah. Vence was uncooperative with investigators, according to Acevedo.