Search for Maleah Davis: Investigators scouring area suspect claims is "perfect place to hide a body"

Well-wishers were seen releasing pink and white balloons into the evening sky after several emotional speeches at Oyster Creek Park on May 15


                            Search for Maleah Davis: Investigators scouring area suspect claims is "perfect place to hide a body"

Large crowds gathered on Wednesday, May 15, night in Sugar Land, Texas, to pay tribute to four-year-old Maleah Davis even as the search for the missing child grew to an area that the suspect in her disappearance allegedly described as a good place to hide a body. Well-wishers were seen releasing pink and white balloons into the evening sky after several emotional speeches were made at Oyster Creek Park.

CNN reported that only days before, volunteers had gathered in the same park in order to pass out fliers looking for information in the little girl's disappearance. Ever since, the search for the child expanded to Rosharon, which is an unincorporated community in Brazoria County.

Vence, who had lived with Maleah and her mother, reported that his silver Nissan Altima was taken in the abduction, but surveillance video showed that vehicle was used to drop Vence off at the hospital (AP photo)

Police spokesperson Jodi Silva said that the Houston Police were working with Texas EquuSearch, a search and rescue organization, to find Maleah. EquuSearch Founder and Director Tim Miller said on Wednesday that searchers were made to focus on the rural area of Rosharon where Derion Vence, who is the suspect in the child's disappearance, had a mail route at one point. 

Miller said: "He actually told his mother-in-law a year ago, 'If I ever murder someone I can dump a body in Rosharon, that will never be found'." Participants in the vigil were seen wearing blue shirts with Maleah's picture printed on them. One of those well-wishers was the father of Jazmine Barnes, the child from the Houston area who was killed in a drive-by shooting in December last year.

Christopher Cevilla said that he wanted to show all the love and support for Maleah's parents just as people in the community had mourned for his "princess". Cevilla said that it was hard to see Maleah in the media and not think of his own daughter. He said: "It brings back flashbacks. It's very hard not to see my baby, looking at the pictures."

Trained dogs detected the scent of human decomposition in the vehicle of a man arrested in connection with the disappearance of the four-year-old Texas girl, according to a prosecutor.

The 26-year-old Derion Vence remains jailed on a $1 million bond after being arrested last Saturday on a charge of tampering with evidence, specifically a human corpse. His next court appearance is set for Monday.

Houston police said the investigation is continuing and have declined to say whether they believe Vence killed Maleah. But prosecutors said in court documents filed on Saturday said that Vence could face additional charges, including murder.

The investigation began after Vence told police that men in a truck on May 4 had abducted him, Maleah and his two-year-old son a day earlier, but had freed him and the boy. Vence told investigators he was left in the Houston suburb of Sugar Land and walked to a hospital, where he reported the girl's abduction.

Sugar Land police, who initially interviewed him, said his story kept changing and didn't add up. Vence, who had lived with Maleah and her mother, reported that his silver Nissan Altima was taken in the abduction, but surveillance video showed that vehicle was used to drop Vence off at the hospital. Police found the car on Thursday.

With AP inputs.

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