Stepfather Of Maleah Davis, Derion Vence, Reportedly Confesses That Child Is Dead, Her Body Is In Arkansas
Court documents report that “there is a substantial likelihood” that Derion Vance may be charged with murder.
UPDATE (MAY 31, 2019):
Derion Vence, the stepfather of missing four-year-old Maleah Davis, reportedly confessed to community activist Quanell X that the little girl is dead and her body is in Arkansas, according to numerous media reports.
The toddler’s stepfather has been a person of interest in her disappearance. He has been in custody for weeks, authorities say, on a charge of tampering with a corpse in connection to Maleah’s vanishing.
Investigators say they are en route to look for the child’s remains.
ORIGINAL STORY (MAY 13, 2019):
HOUSTON, TX — Derion Vence, the 26-year-old man who police say was the last person to see missing four-year-old Maleah Davis alive on May 3, was arrested on Saturday on a charge of tampering with evidence related, authorities say.
Sources report that the arrest occurred after police say they spotted drops of blood in a hallway that led to a bedroom in Vence’s apartment. Officers alleged that they observed more blood drops in the bathroom.
Court documents reveal that law-enforcement specialists sprayed the area with a “chemical reagent” and that the substance reacted positively to the presence of still more blood in the apartment on a microscopic level.
Police reported that the blood was “consistent” with DNA taken from Maleah’s toothbrush. Authorities have not yet officially announced whether or not they believe the child is dead.
Harris County prosecutor Pat Stayton told the press that, in addition to the blood findings, two canine officers reacted to the trunk of the car Vence was allegedly driving. Stayton said, “The dogs were reacting to the scent of human decomposition.”
Authorities also cited surveillance video that they say indicates Maleah went inside the home with Vence and then never left on the day she went missing. Police allege that the video does, however, depict Vence carrying a blue laundry basket and a trash bag out of his apartment on May 3. According to legal documents, investigators found a blue laundry basket in the car like the one in the video.
A probable cause document filed by Harris County authorities defines the charge against Vence as "tampering with evidence, namely a corpse."
A judge reportedly set Vence’s bond at $1 million after an assistant district attorney wrote in a court document that "there is a substantial likelihood that additional charges may be forthcoming, including but not limited to the first-degree felony offense of murder.”
According to law-enforcement records, Vence initially told police that he was driving Maleah and his two-year-old son on May 3 when three men in a pickup truck attacked them and abducted Maleah, and that his car was stolen as well.
Authorities say that Vence told them he drifted in and out of consciousness before wandering into a hospital the next day. Police have since stated that they have obtained surveillance video of Vence being dropped off at the hospital in the car he allegedly claimed had been stolen.
Prosecutors said that tampering with a human corpse is a second-degree felony in Texas and, if Vence is convicted just on that charge, he could face between two and 20 years in jail.
Derion Vence is reportedly scheduled to appear back in court on Monday, May 13.