According to outlets including the New York Post, little Maleah Davis, the 4-year-old Houston child last seen May 3, was in danger before what her stepfather characterized as abduction at the hands of three hispanic men.
Police issued an Amber Alert for Maleah Sunday. Sgt. Mark Holbrook of the Houston Police Department’s Homicide Division told reporters he hoped media could help his colleagues “fill in the blanks” in the story from Vence.
Brittany Bowens, Maleah’s mother, had recently fought with stepfather Darion Vence, according to a friend speaking on Bowens’ behalf during a recent press conference.
“On the day that Brittany left to be with her sick father — her dying father — to be with family, there was a huge fight between her and him,” Quanell X, a community activist, said. “He was hurt, he was angry, he was upset” after she broke off their engagement and gave him back his ring, accusing him of being gay, she said. “I believe that caused him to snap in anger.”
Bowens left the child with her ex-fiance when she went to see her terminally ill father, according to X. According to X, Vence was cleaning the apartment with bleach on the day of Maleah’s disappearance. Also alarming, surveillance photos show a man identified as Vence leaving the apartment with a laundry basket stuffed with a black garbage bag.
According to CNN, Maleah had been removed from the home last year. Bowens maintained that she was removed after a series of surgeries to heal injuries stemming from head wounds that occurred in the home, according to CNN.
Child Protective Services arrived at her home days after the last surgery, and Bowens maintained they did not find anything out of order. Still, Maleah and her two siblings were placed with relatives from August until February.
Bowens told CNN’s Nick Valencia that she does not believe her ex-fiance. Bowens was getting a ride home from the airport from a relative after Vence failed to show.
Vence told authorities he was abducted by three Hispanic men who attacked him y the side of the road after he pulled over to see if he had a flat tire. Vence was reportedly with another small child, who was unharmed and left by the men, who sped off with Maleah knocking Vence out, according to Vence himself.
The vehicle reported stolen was found without any clear signs of unusual activity, and is being processed for evidence.
According to CNN, Vence’s story had changed several times. While Bowens, who told local media that her spirit was “broken” in the aftermath of her daughter’s appearance, initially couldn’t fathom Vence bearing any responsibility, she has come to believe he is at least partly responsible.
X revealed to reporters that Bowens, who covered her face and cried during the appearance, planned to meet with Police to share information with them.
According to Sugar Land Police spokesman Doug Adolph, Vence’s story “did not add up.”
“The substantive details of what he described to us changed” over the days since he first recounted the events to police, Adolph added.