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Houston police find remains in hunt for missing 4-year-old

By
Danielle Haynes
Derion Vence allegedly told police he dumped 4-year-old Maleah Davis' body on the side of a road in Arkansas. File Photo courtesy Houston Police Department
Derion Vence allegedly told police he dumped 4-year-old Maleah Davis' body on the side of a road in Arkansas. File Photo courtesy Houston Police Department

May 31 (UPI) -- Houston police said they believe they've located the remains of a 4-year-old girl Friday after her mother's former fiancé told authorities where he dumped her body in Arkansas.

The Houston Police Department has yet to formally identify the remains as belonging to Maleah Davis.

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"Do we believe that it's possibly her? Yes," HPD Executive Assistant Chief Troy Finner said in a news conference Friday evening. "But can we confirm it right now? No."

The remains were in a black garbage bag on the side of a Interstate 30 in Fulton, Ark. A road crew mowing the area struck the bag Friday, causing some of the contents to be spread over an area.

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Derion Vence, 26, reported Maleah missing May 4 while her mother, Brittany Bowens, was out of town for several days.

Vence told police that he, Maleah and his 1-year-old son were driving to George Bush Intercontinental Airport in north Houston to pick up Bowens. After pulling over to check a flat tire, he said three Hispanic men approached in a blue truck, took Maleah and knocked him unconscious.

Vence said he woke up 24 hours later to find the silver Nissan Altima missing but the 1-year-old still there. He said he walked to Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital to have his injuries treated, then he called the police to report Maleah and his Altima missing.

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But police noted inconsistencies in what Vence told them. A surveillance camera captured footage of someone in the silver Altima dropping him off at the hospital.

Vence was later seen coming out of his apartment with a full laundry basket.

Police found his silver Altima in Missouri City, Texas, with the laundry basket in the trunk and a gas can in the trunk. They also found blood matching Maleah's DNA in his vehicle.

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Police arrested Vence on charges of tampering with evidence.

He allegedly told a community activist that he dumped Maleah's body in Arkansas, but said her death was an accident.

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