Child Protective Services explained Monday why a missing 4-year-old girl and her two siblings were taken from their home last year, but returned six months later.
Houston Chronicle reports that in August 2018, Maleah and her two her brothers were placed with a family member following accusations that physical abuse occurred inside their family’s Houston area home. The allegations surfaced after Maleah, who was reported missing Saturday, sustained a severe head injury that required her to have several surgeries.
CPS spokeswoman Tiffani Butler said that they received accusations that “possible physical abuse” happened. In February, a judge sent the children back to live with their mother. CPS, however, according to Butler, still has custody of the children.
“CPS still has custody,” Butler said. “We were going to the home at least once a month.”
Following conditions set forth by the judge, CPS had been visiting the home monthly “to make sure everything is OK,” according to Click2Houston.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Maleah’s stepfather, Darion Vence, 26, told authorities he was driving a silver Nissan Altima along Greens Road and Highway 59 on Friday evening when he heard a “popping noise” coming from his vehicle.
Vence told police he had two children in the car, his toddler son and stepdaughter Maleah, and was on his way to the George Bush Intercontinental Airport to pick up the children’s mother, Brittany Bowens, who was returning to Texas from Massachusetts.
Vence said he pulled over to check the tires on his vehicle and within a few minutes, three unknown Hispanic males pulled up in a blue 2010 Chevrolet crew cab pickup. Vence said two men got out of the truck, and while one made comments about Maleah, the other reportedly struck him in the head.
“On of them makes a comment and says, ‘Maleah looks very nice, very sweet,’” Sargent Mark Holbrook with the Houston Police Department said during a Sunday afternoon press conference. “The other man hits Darion in the head. Darion loses consciousness. Darion is able to wake up during a period of time and he was in the back of the blue truck.”
Around 6 p.m. on Saturday, Vence, in and out of consciousness, woke up to find himself and his son on Highway 6 in Sugar Land with his 1-year-old son, according to what he told authorities. Maleah was not with him. Vence said he walked to Methodist Hospital in Sugar Land and arrived around 11 p.m. on Saturday.
The car Vence was driving Friday, which belongs to Bowens, was spotted on security footage Saturday afternoon at around 2 p.m. driving around Sugar Land. The vehicle is also missing. According to the police, the car has a temporary license tag, with number, 330-92G9.
2/2: Photo of assault victim, Mr. Darion Vence, who is Maleah's stepfather, stated he was unconscious for almost 24 hrs. Detectives ask anyone who saw Darion or Maleah after 9 pm Friday (May 3) to 6 pm on Sat to contact HPD Homicide 713-308-3600 or @CrimeStopHOU at 713-222-TIPS. pic.twitter.com/nuZHA1EQPY
— Houston Police (@houstonpolice) May 5, 2019
“The motive in the kidnapping incident and its original north Houston location are unknown at this time. Investigators have been interviewing family members throughout the morning,” Houston police said.
Maleah is described as a black female who was last seen wearing sneakers, a light blue zip-up jacket, blue jeans, and a pink bow in her hair. She stands 3 feet tall and weighs around 30 to 40 pounds.
According to Holbrook, family members ended up picking up the children’s mother from the airport. Bowens claimed she filed a missing persons report on Vence and the children on Saturday.
Holbrook added that police have talked to Maleah’s biological father, who has been cooperative in the investigation and hasn’t been named a suspect. He also added that Maleah had her most recent head surgery in either late March or early April.
“Maleah has had multiple brain surgeries, most recently end of March, early April, to fix the flap for her injury, so that the flap will grow at the same rate as her skull. I wouldn’t call her special needs, but she’s needed a lot of care. And she was sick this week too.”
Anyone with any information is urged to contact authorities immediately the Houston Police Department at (713) 308-3600 or Crime Stoppers at (713) 222-TIPS.
Meanwhile, Maleah’s mother, Brittany Bowens, made a public plea on Monday, requesting the public’s help in finding Maleah. Bowens said she had no idea where Maleah could be.
“I just want to find my baby. Help me find her please.”
[Feature Photo: Maleah Davis/GoFundMe]