Timeline: Maleah Davis case

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HOUSTON – From the moment she disappeared, the case of 4-year-old Maleah Davis has grabbed the nation’s attention. 

Here’s a timeline of how the case has unfolded and what investigators have said the evidence shows.

Scroll down to the bottom of the story for an interactive timeline.

April 30 

Maleah’s mother says she left the state for a funeral.

7:54 a.m. - A surveillance photo shows Maleah and her stepfather, Derion Vence, walking through the yard at the family’s southwest Houston apartment complex, according to a police source. The source said this is the last known photo of Maleah before she went missing. 

About 8:50 a.m. - Surveillance video from a neighbor shows Vence walking to his car alone. 

May 3

About 1:40 p.m. - A surveillance photo shows Vence leaving the family’s apartment with a blue laundry basket that had a large black trash bag inside, according to authorities.

6:47 p.m. - Vence and a child are seen in a surveillance photo leaving the family’s apartment, according to a police source. The source said the child seen in the photo is not Maleah and that Vence appears to be carrying a bottle of bleach.

This is about the same time Vence said he, Maleah and Maleah’s younger brother left for the airport to pick up Maleah’s mother. It was during this trip that Vence said he stopped to investigate a damaged tire and was attacked by three men. He said he was knocked out during the attack and when he regained consciousness, Maleah and the family’s gray Nissan Altima were gone.

May 4 

11:21 p.m. - Vence reported Maleah missing after going to a hospital in Sugar Land for treatment.

May 5

7:59 a.m. - Authorities issue an Amber Alert for Maleah.

May 9

The family’s gray Nissan Altima is found by a taxi cab driver in the parking lot of a Missouri City shopping center.

May 11

Vence is arrested and charged with tampering with evidence. He is ordered held in jail on $1 million bond.

May 13

About 10 a.m. - Vence doesn’t appear in court for a scheduled hearing, and people chant “Justice for Maleah” to Maleah’s mother as she waits for an elevator.

About 1 p.m. - A judge lowers Vence's bond to $45,000.

May 14

Members of Texas EquuSearch comb an area near the Creepy Hollow Haunted House in Rosharon while investigating a tip they had received.

May 15

Texas EquuSearch teams begin searching a new area in Rosharon, before they suspended the search. The group said they are waiting for new information that may lead them to Maleah so that they can resume their search.

May 16

Crime Stoppers offers a reward of up to $5,000 for information about Maleah's disappearance, saying it might be increased in the future.

May 20

A small group of protesters gathers in front of the Child Protective Services offices in Southwest Houston to continue demanding answers as to why Maleah was placed back with her mother.

May 23

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo says his office will offer an additional $5,000 in reward money. Later, a Lousiana couple puts up an additional $10,000 in reward money, bringing the total to $20,000.

May 28

Activist Quanell X says he is no longer going to be speaking on behalf of Maleah's mother, citing inconsistencies in her story. 

May 29

Vence's attorney files a motion to withdraw as his legal counsel, citing unpaid bills and lack of employment.

May 31

The search for Maleah expands to Arkansas after Quanell X says Vence confessed to dumping her body there after she died from an accident.

In the afternoon, law enforcement officials say human remains were found in a garbage bag emitting a foul odor near Exit 18 in Fulton, Arkansas, which is about 20 miles northeast of Texarkana.

June 3

Investigators say the remains found in Arkansas have been positively identified as those of Maleah.

June 28

The medical examiner in Harris County lists the cause of death for Maleah as "homicidal violence."

About the Author:

Aaron Barker has been a senior digital editor at KPRC 2 since 2016. As a meteorologist, he specializes in stories about the weather. He has covered Hurricane Harvey, the Astros first World Series win, the Santa Fe High School shooting, the ITC fire and Tropical Storm Imelda.