Maleah Davis case: Stepfather's story has hole big enough to 'drive big rig through,' chief says

By Matt Aufdenspring - Digital Managing Editor

HOUSTON - It's been nearly three weeks since Maleah Davis went missing and she still hasn't been found.

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo spoke about the case at a news conference Thursday.

Acevedo said HPD is still searching for Maleah, 4, and pursuing leads, and he urged anyone with information to come forward.

"Maleah deserves to be found, be recovered and deserves a proper burial, and we need the community's help," he said.

Acevedo said Derion Vence, the man police describe as her stepfather and who is charged with tampering with evidence, specifically a human corpse, in connection with the case, has told police a "tall tale" and is not cooperating with investigators.

"We strongly believe he knows where she's at and if he wanted to tell us, he would," Acevedo said about Vence.

Vence's story has a hole so large "you could drive a big rig through it," Acevedo said.

He said Maleah's mother, Brittany Bowens, is communicating with police, but that she is not the focus of the case.

"Our focus right now is to find this little baby. Our focus is getting her, recovering her body," Acevedo said. "I could sit here and say we're going to find her alive, but I'd be lying."

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Here's what we know:

Maleah was reported missing May 4 by Vence, who initially told officers the little girl was kidnapped.

Bowens said she ended her relationship with Vence, but still left her child in his care when she took an out-of-town trip.

Despite multiple searches, Maleah remains missing.

CPS officials told KPRC they can't go into more detail about the case because a gag order was issued.

A timeline of Maleah's disappearance is below:

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