Stepfather Named 'Person of Interest' In The Case Of Missing 4-Year-Old Maleah Davis

Darion Vence told cops three men abducted her last Friday; CPS has since confirmed taking the child from her home last year over abuse claims.

May 08, 2019
Maleah Davis [Houston Police Department]

Photo by: Maleah Davis [Houston Police Department]

Maleah Davis [Houston Police Department]

By: Mike McPadden

HOUSTON, TX — A Houston man has been named a “person of interest” in the disappearance of his four-year-old stepdaughter, after he first claimed that three strangers abducted her last Friday.

In addition, Child Protective Services reported removing the toddler from her home in August 2018 over allegations of abuse, but the agency returned her this past February.

Darion Vence, 26, is the stepfather of missing child Maleah Davis. Initially, Vence told police that he, Maleah, and his two-year-old son had been assaulted and abducted in Houston by three Hispanic men in a blue Chevy pickup.

An Amber Alert was issued for Maleah on Sunday. In addition to the normally intense concern surrounding any missing child, authorities pointed out that Maleah has undergone multiple brain surgeries and is in need of “a lot of care.”

During a news conference on Sunday, Sergeant Mark Holbrook of the Houston Police Department Homicide Division said that Vence and the kids were reportedly driving to the airport on Friday to pick up the children’s mother, Brittany Bowens.

Then, Vence told investigators, “A big, blue pickup truck pulls up behind him, two Hispanic males get out. One of them makes a comment, saying that Maleah looks very nice, looks very sweet. The other male hits Darion in the head. Darion loses consciousness."

From there, Vence said the kidnappers drove him around for nearly 24 hours, during which he was in and out of a daze. At about 6 P.M. the following day, according to Vence, the three men deposited him and his son on the side of a freeway in Sugar Land — but they took off with Maleah.

Vence said he wandered from that point into Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital at 10 or 11 P.M, where he was treated for flesh wounds.

Darion Vence [Houston Police Department]

Photo by: Darion Vence [Houston Police Department]

Darion Vence [Houston Police Department]

At first, Houston Police stated that Vence was not a suspect, and they even released a photo of him with a visible head wound. However, Sugar Land authorities pointed out that details in Vence’s story kept changing, and Houston subsequently named Vence a person of interest.

On top of those developments, Child Protective Services reported that in August 2018 the agency removed Maleah from the home she lived in with Vence and her mother after investigating abuse claims related to a head injury she sustained. CPS returned Maleah to the home this past February.

Brittany Bowens told reporters that investigators determined the injury came from a fall. She also added that she is “terrified” for her daughter and just wants to “find my baby.”

Maleah Davis is an African-American female with black hair and brown eyes. She is approximately three feet tall and weighs 30 to 40 pounds. She was last seen wearing a light blue Under Armor jacket, blue jeans, and gray Under Armour tennis shoes with pink and white details.

Anyone with information regarding Maleah's whereabouts is urged to contact the Houston Police Department at (713) 308-3600 or Crime Stoppers at (713) 222-TIPS.

Read more: KPRC-TV, KVIA, ABC News, Fox News

Next Up

Iowa Father Still Searching For Answers After Son’s 2013 Disappearance

Michael Workman’s son, Fredrick James Workman, disappeared at age 15 and may use the alias "Fred Shields."

True Crime News Roundup: 19-Year-Old Arrested After Memphis Shooting Spree

Plus: Stepmother of missing child arrested; Anna Delvey’s former friend sues Netflix; father arrested after 1-year-old son dies in hot car; and two people shot at Uvalde Memorial Park.

Inside The Tragic Hart Family Murder-Suicide Crash

Jennifer and Sarah Hart killed themselves and murdered their six adopted children in 2018 by driving their SUV off a cliff in California.

Three Michigan Boys Vanished In 2010 After Spending Thanksgiving With Their Father

John Skelton claimed he gave his sons Andrew, Alexander and Tanner to an underground group.

Mother Charged With Murder After Police Find Body Of Missing Georgia 2-Year-Old In Landfill

20-month-old Quinton Simon was reported missing on Oct. 5, 2022 by his mother who said he disappeared from his playpen. His remains were found in a landfill the following month.

In February 2001, Steven Kraft, Jr. Took His Dogs Outside And Disappeared

Over two decades ago, a 12-year-old boy went missing from outside his home in Benton Harbor, Michigan. The two dogs he was playing with have since been found but he remains missing.

Family Still Looking For Answers In 1965 Disappearance Of Elizabeth Gill

Authorities said a vehicle previously purchased in Lake Orion, Michigan is linked to this Cape Girardeau, Missouri mystery. If you have any information on this missing mystery, please contact the Cape Girardeau Police Department directly: 573-335-6621.

14-Year-Old Vanishes After Leaving For A Party More Than 20 Years Ago

On Sep. 14, 2001, Jesse Florez left for a party and never returned home. Since that day, Florez’s family, friends, and loved ones have never given up hope of finding Florez.

A Texas Child Is Missing After Her Father Allegedly ‘Gave’ Her To Someone At A Convenience Store

Tiara McWilliams had tried in vain to get her daughter, Ameera Deadrick, back from her father for years after a summer trip turned into a permanent arrangement.

Child Who Went Missing From A Washington Mall In 2018 Found Safe In Mexico

8-year-old Aranza Maria Ochoa Lopez, who had been missing since 2018, was found alive and well in Mexico and returned to the United States.