The Houston man who claimed “three Hispanic men in a pickup truck” abducted his stepdaughter last Friday is behind bars after the Gulf Coast Violent Offenders Task Force arrested him at a family member’s home in Sugar Land.
FOX 8 reports that 26-year-old Derion Vence (previously spelled “Darion” by Houston police) was arrested on Saturday and charged with suspicion of tampering with evidence, a human corpse. Police haven’t confirmed whether 4-year-old Maleah Davis has been found or not, but they did find blood evidence linked to the little girl inside Vence’s apartment.
Update: Current booking photo of suspect Derion Vence #hounews pic.twitter.com/8WueclRVI6
— Houston Police (@houstonpolice) May 11, 2019
According to ABC 13, authorities indicated Maleah was last seen on April 30, the day her mother, Brittany Bowens, left Texas for Massachusetts, reportedly to attend a funeral. Security footage captured Vence bringing Maleah back into his apartment the same morning.
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On May 3, the same security camera showed Vence leaving the apartment with his 1-year-old toddler son, a laundry basket, and a black trash bag. Maleah was not with him and was never seen with him again.
Authorities found the laundry basket and a gas can inside the trunk of a Nissan Altima that Vence reported stolen. Police found the car in the Missouri City area on Thursday.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Vence told authorities he was driving the silver Nissan Altima along Greens Road and Highway 59 on May 3, near Humble, 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 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.
Meanwhile, police said that Vence’s version of what happened has changed several times.
“During the initial interview, the man’s story did change several times and some of what he told us just didn’t add up,” spokesperson for Sugar Land police, Doug Adolph said.
On Friday, community activist Quanell X spoke to local Houston area reporters on Friday about physical evidence against Vence, which, at the time, had not been confirmed by police.
“There is a video camera at the top of the stairway by one of their neighbors. And on that video camera, it captures the stepdad coming out of the apartment with a bottle of Clorox, a laundry basket, and inside the laundry basket, a garbage bag.”
Quanell said Vence left the apartment and came back with another bottle of Clorox, although according to Bowens, there was already bleach inside the home.
Further, speaking on behalf of Bowens, Quanell said Bowens and Vence were in an argument after she discovered that Vence allegedly sent photos of his penis to another man. Bowens took her engagement ring off of her finger and accused Vence of being gay. She then left for Massachusetts and reportedly refused to speak to Vence, which according to Quannell, angered the man to the point he snapped.
“I believe that caused him to snap in anger on young Maleah,” Quanell added. “The mother also had heated words with him in the past about him physically whipping and spanking young Maleah…..This was a very small, fragile child, a very young baby, and she was a special needs child.”
Vence allegedly threatened Bowens when she tried to take Maleah to the hospital for bruising months ago. Further, Bowens reportedly accused Vence of molesting Maleah.
“He would sneak that child home [from daycare] and not tell the mother,” Quanell said. “He would bathe Maleah, which was inappropriate. That’s not his daughter.”
When questioned why Bowens never came forward with the accusations previously, Quanell said Bowens “did not want to believe” that Vence had anything to do with Maleah’s disappearance.
The story continues to develop. Check back CrimeOnline as additional details become available.
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[Feature Photo: Maleah Davis/Handout]