The Texas stepfather who claimed 4-year-old Maleah Davis was abducted over the weekend is now considered a person of interest in the case, according to police.
On May 3, Darion Vence reported he was driving Maleah and his 1-year-old son to the airport to pick up their mother when three men in a blue pickup truck took the girl.
Vence initially told police he was knocked out by one of the men and kept losing consciousness. When he finally woke up, Maleah and the family’s 2011 Nissan Altima were gone.
While Maleah has not been located, Sugar Land police officers feel Vence’s story contains enough inconsistencies to consider him a person of interest, Click2Houston reported.
According to Fox26, Vence first told investigators he walked to the hospital for treatment for his head injuries. However, when he told his story the second time, he allegedly told police he was dropped off at the hospital but did not say by whom.
Police are looking at surveillance camera footage in the area to help piece together the story.
Additionally, Child Protective Services removed Maleah and her two brothers from their family home in August 2018 after receiving reports of abuse, ABC13 reported.
The children were placed with a relative while the agency investigated allegations of physical abuse related to a head injury Maleah suffered that resulted in several surgeries.
However, Brittany Bowens, Maleah’s mother, insists Maleah’s head injury was caused by a fall.
“My spirit is so broken, I feel so lost. I can’t concentrate, I can’t focus. It’s so overwhelming for me. It doesn’t seem real,” Bowens told ABC13. “Anything helps. Share a post, share a flier, anything. It is greatly appreciated and I mean that from my heart, I mean that with every bit of me.”
Maleah and her siblings were returned to their family home in February 2019. It remains unclear if CPS made any welfare checks at the home before Maleah’s disappearance.
Bowens also told ABC13 she isn’t suspicious of Vence’s account.
“There’s not one thing in my soul that says that he would do that,” she told ABC13.
However, people on Twitter find Vence’s story suspicious.
Volunteers from Texas EquuSearch have searched the woods near the interstate where Vence said Maleah was taken.
“We want to start checking every single dumpster just in case,” Texas EquuSearch’s Tim Miller told Fox26. “We believe in miracles. Let’s hope we get one.”
Maleah was last seen wearing a pink bow in her hair, a light blue zip jacket, blue jeans as well as gray, white, and pink sneakers. She is about 3 feet tall, with black hair, brown eyes and weighs between 30 and 40 pounds.
Vence’s Nissan Altima is now considered a stolen vehicle. It has a Texas license plate with the number 330-92G9.
Investigators have spoken with Maleah's biological father, and he is cooperating with police.
Anyone with information on Maleah Davis' whereabouts is urged to contact HPD at 713-308-3600 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.