As the clock ticks on Maleah Davis's abduction, former NYPD detective explains why time is critical when it comes to finding missing children
It has been more than 48 hours since an Amber Alert was issued for four-year-old Maleah Davis and authorities are still imploring the public for help with locating the toddler. Reports have stated that Maleah recently had brain surgery to correct a wound and that she needs constant attention and medical care. Her stepfather, Darion Vence, told authorities that he heard a "popping noise" like a tire popping when they were driving to the airport to pick up Maleah's mother, Brittany Bowens, from the airport.
He told the police that he pulled over to check and that's when a pickup truck pulled up behind his vehicle. Two Hispanic men allegedly got out of the truck and one of them allegedly commented: "the girl looks very nice, looks very sweet".
The other man then hit Vence on the head and he lost consciousness. Vence said that he briefly regained consciousness and found himself in the back of the truck with Maleah and his son. The three suspects were also in the vehicle and Vence said he was in and out of consciousness until around 6 pm on May 4.
With the media and the public trying to piece together this puzzling case and find the child as quickly as possible, we look into the chances of children such as Maleah being found after the first 48 hours. Former NYPD detective, actor, and chairman and CEO at Beau Dietl & Associates, Richard A "Bo" Dietl, spoke to MEA WorldWide (MEAWW) and cited a study done by the Department of Justice in 2006 that analyzed 600 child abduction murders by strangers.
He said: "The study found that 76% of the time, the child was murdered in the first three hours following in abduction, in 88.5% of the cases the child was dead in 24 hours." When asked how often children are found once they go missing, Dietl responded by saying in the majority of cases, the children do have a chance of being found by authorities looking for them.
Dietl said that the statistics of missing children are broken down into runaways, lost, family abductions and non-family abductions. Only around 115 children are reported missing due to non-family abductions every year. In the non-family abduction cases, there are few cases where the child could know the abductor but in most cases its a stranger. He said: "These are the most dangerous cases — out of this subset, 57% are recovered, 40% are found dead and 3% remain unsolved."
The former detective added: "The Amber Alert program has been highly successful due to the instant dissemination of information. In most success stories the child, the vehicle or the perpetrator was recognized by either a law enforcement officer or a private individual."
The Amber Alert that was issued for Maleah Davis is still in effect today as the search continues for the missing toddler. She is described as being 3 feet tall and weighs 30 to 40lbs. She was last seen wearing a light blue Under Armour jacket, blue jeans, gray Under Armour tennis shoes with pink and white details, and a pink bow in her hair.