In an exclusive interview with Houston news station KHOU11, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo revealed officials believe missing 4-year-old Maleah Davis is dead.
During the interview, Acevedo says his team is now focused on locating the child’s body.
“We already know and believe that she is dead and we need to bring her home,” Chief Acevedo told KHOU.
Houston prosecutors charged Derion Vence, the former fiancé of Davis’ mother, with tampering with evidence. Blood matching Maleah Davis’ DNA was found in Vence’s apartment and cadaver dogs detected the smell of human remains in his car trunk.
Although he didn’t go into detail about Vence, Chief Acevedo believes Vence knows where to find Maleah.
“Oh, I’m sure he could. I’m sure if he really wanted to, he could tell us exactly where to find that body. That’s just an opinion based on what I know so far,” Acevedo told KHOU.
In a YouTube interview, Vence’s dad, Joe D. Vence, said he believes his son is innocent.
"I just feel they set him up some sort of way," Joe Vence said during his appearance on IckedMel. "I know he didn't do anything to her. He loves her. He's been taking care of her since she was 1 years old."
When it comes to Davis’ mother, Brittany Bowens, many people have also criticized her, saying she’s complicit in the girl’s disappearance.
However, as far as Chief Acevedo is concerned, nothing is more important than finding Maleah.
“I really want to not focus on him, not on Ms. Davis’ mother,” he added. “A lot of people have moved on. The media has moved on. I’m glad that you have not moved on, and we’re not going to move on until we get the final justice here and until we bring this little girl home.”
Crime Stoppers' reward is also $5,000. All tips are taken anonymously and can be reported by calling (713) 222-TIPS (8477).
Acevedo is also offering a $5,000 reward for tips that lead to Davis.