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As the search for Maleah Davis hits a devastating plateau, the child’s mother released a never-before-seen video of the missing 4-year-old smiling after brain surgery.
Just weeks before she disappeared in early May, Maleah underwent a brain surgery. On Memorial Day, Maleah’s mother, Brittany Bowens shared a video of the smiling child being wheeled into a hospital room by nurses.
Maleah underwent a series of brain surgeries after she suffered a head injury in August 2018 while in the care of Bowens and her then-fiance Derion Vence. Child Protective Services temporarily removed Maleah and her siblings from Bowens and Vence’s apartment, but the children were placed back in the home in February 2019.
On May 5, Vence claimed Maleah was abducted by three men. During a search of Vence’s apartment, police found blood related to Maleah’s DNA.
Vence was arrested and charged with tampering with evidence.
Texas Equusearch led the initial search for the little girl, who is presumed dead by the Houston Police Department. However, after Equusearch suspended their efforts due to lack of evidence, smaller teams of volunteers started their own search efforts.
During a search, a group of volunteers not affiliated with Texas Equusearch found a cell phone in the Addicks Reservoir and assumed it was tied to Davis’ case, reported the Houston Chronicle.
The volunteers alarmed police about the phone, which was determined to have no connection to Davis’ disappearance.
Texas Equusearch founder Tim Miller raised concerns about using untrained volunteers after the public false alarm.
“You’re searching, God bless you,” Miller told KHOU11. “Are you doing this for the right reasons? Or do you just want to put (it) out there so everybody says what a great person you are (because) you’re out there searching (because) your ego is too damn big? This isn’t about ego. It’s about a little girl that’s missing.”
Miller said his team and volunteers train for weeks before assisting with searches, and in the last 20 years, Texas Equusearch recovered the remains of 256 people.
Now that his team is running out of leads, Miller is concerned about untrained volunteers corrupting potential evidence.
“If she’s found, if there’s evidence, we can’t have some inexperienced people that (are) going to contaminate some evidence or somebody’s going to walk on this case,” Miller told KHOU11.