HOUSTON - Thursday marks a month since the last time 4-year-old Maleah Davis was seen.
Maleah’s stepfather, Derion Vence, said he, Maleah and Maleah’s younger brother were attacked April 30 when he stopped to check a damaged tire. He said that he was knocked out during the attack and when he regained consciousness, Maleah and the family’s car were gone.
Vence reported Maleah missing three days later when he went to a hospital in Sugar Land for treatment of his injuries.
In the days that followed, scores of people scoured nearly a dozen locations in an effort to find the missing girl.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner marked the somber anniversary with a Facebook post, encouraging people to keep up the search.
“It has been weeks, but let us not forget about Maleah Davis,” Turner wrote. “The 4-year-old is still missing. Her loved ones need closure and everyone wants answers.”
Vence faces a charge of tampering with evidence after investigators said blood found in the family’s southwest Houston apartment matched DNA found on Maleah’s toothbrush.
Investigators have said there have been inconsistencies in Vence’s story.
Quanell X, who was serving as a spokesman for Brittany Bowens, Maleah’s mother, also cited inconsistencies in her story Tuesday when he said he will no longer represent her.
Vence is being held in jail. His lawyer filed a motion Wednesday to withdraw as his legal counsel, saying payments are not being made.
Tim Miller of Texas Equusearch said even though the large search parties have been called off, he still has smaller teams running down leads. Even checking out tips himself as recently as Wednesday night.
"We're in it for the long haul. We were hoping it wouldn't be this long, but it appears it's going to be longer," Miller said.
Child advocacy groups say the focus on Maleah this past month has brought a new awareness to problems within CPS and the court system. Lisa Mikosh is chief operating officer of Justice for Children and says there needs to be more transparency.
"It's important for the rest of society to feel confident in those agencies that they've done the right thing and will do the right thing to protect our children," she said.
Anyone with information regarding Maleah’s whereabouts is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-8477. A reward of up to $20,000 is being offered.
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