HOUSTON (AP) — The police chief in Houston said Thursday that evidence shows a 4-year-old girl who has been missing since earlier this month was killed, and he’s asking for the public’s help in finding her body.
“She deserves to be found, she deserves to be recovered and she deserves to have a proper burial,” Chief Art Acevedo said at a news conference.
Maleah Davis was reported missing earlier this month by her mother's former fiance, Derion Vence. He told police that he, Maleah and his 2-year-old son were abducted on May 3 by a group of men in a truck after he pulled over on a Houston highway. He said he and his son were freed the next day, but the kidnappers kept Maleah and his vehicle. Police later said the story didn't add up.
Acevedo said Thursday that he believes Vence knows where the child is but has not told police. Vence is being held on a charge of tampering with evidence, specifically a human corpse. Investigators found blood in Vence's apartment and search dogs detected the scent of human decomposition in his car when it was found.
"We strongly believe he knows where she's at and if he wanted to tell us, he would," the chief said.
Executive Assistant Chief Matt Slinkard, who also spoke at the news conference, said: "We are not receiving the level of cooperation we need from anybody involved at this point."
In addition to asking anyone who may have seen something or has information about the case to come forward, Acevedo also implored the public to be vigilant when out in places that are not heavily traveled, such as hiking trails and wooded areas. He said to look out for things like out-of-place soil.