Documents filed in Harris County family court in connection to missing Houston girl, Maleah Davis, reveal months of investigation by child social services prior to her disappearance.
The Department of Family and Protective Services (TDFPS) released over 300 pages of documents pertaining to 4-year-old Maleah, with allegations of child abuse dating back to August 2018.
July 28, 2018
On July 28, 2018, Maleah’s mother, Brittany Bowens, brought her to the hospital with a laceration on her head. Bowens said the little girl wasn’t acting abnormal and didn’t have seizures. A physician tended to Maleah’s injuries, then discharged her from the hospital.
August 3, 2018
“On August 3, 2018, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services received a report of physical abuse by an unknown perpetrator……Brittany Bowens, the mother of Maleah Davis, contacted Brenda Bowns, maternal grandmother, and stated Maleah had fallen from a tall chair to a marble table.”
The documents indicated that Bowens followed her mother’s advice and took Maleah to the hospital. She was treated and subsequently released.
August 6, 2018
A few days later, while in the care of Bowen and her boyfriend, 26-year-old Derion Vence, Maleah’s eyes started rolling to the back of her head. Bowens again called her mother, who again told Bowens to take Maleah to the hospital. Bowens complied.
According to court documents, physicians said that the injury on Maleah’s head could not have been caused from falling from a chair. The injury caused “half of her skull to be removed” and Maleah underwent a “craniectomy to relieve pressure.”
“When she falls, she came around that couch, she had a deep gash in her head and it freaked me out,” Bowen later said to CNN. “They did a CT scan and that’s when they told me there was bleeding on the left-hand side of her brain. At that point it was a life or death situation.”
While Maleah was in the hospital, her grandmother, Brenda, was “constantly by her side,” according to the documents. Bowens, however, was not “consistently present at the hospital.” Maleah’s biological father, Craig Davis, “has been by to visit and was lying in bed with Maleah propped up on him,” the court documents read.
Afterward, TDFPS spoke with both Bowens and Davis about their child’s injuries.
“Both parents deny any previous injury,” the documents read.
August 10, 2018
On August 10, 2018, Investigator Marquise Williams, with the Department of Family and Protective Services, spoke with a social worker from the Texas Children’s Hospital, who informed the agency that Maleah had two separate injuries, a frontal laceration and a fracture to her left posterior temporal bone.
August 13, 2018
Williams visited the apartment where Bowens and Vence lived. Bowens showed the area where Maleah supposedly fell and hit her head, but the investigator didn’t measure the area. Bowens was ordered to appear in court on August 22, along with Maleah’s biological father, Davis.
August 22, 2018
Both Bowens and Davis were asked to give the court emergency contact information of family members, so that Maleah and her siblings could be placed in their care while the child abuse investigations continued. Both were also told to provide information regarding insurance for the children, how would they would pay child support, and the children’s medical history.
TDFPS was named temporary managing conservator of Maleah and her siblings, while Bowens was named joint consenter for the children’s medical needs. The children were temporarily placed with a “sitter” appointed by the court. Both parents were allowed to visit their children at anytime, as long as the sitter approved.
Bowens was ordered to take parenting classes, which she eventually completed.
A physician could not positively confirm that Maleah’s injuries came from physical abuse.
Maleah is temporarily returned home to Bowens’ apartment, where she lived with her mother, Vence, and her siblings. The plan is for a “monitored return” of the children. A court date was scheduled for May 22 to determine if the children would be permanently placed in the care of their mother.
“They didn’t find anything because we’re not those kinds of people,” Bowens would later say, indicating that there was no abuse in the home.
Maleah disappeared before the court date. On April 30, security footage at her mother’s Houston apartment spotted her walking with Vence toward the apartment at around 7:45 a.m. Four days later, Vence reported Maleah missing. Although he claimed three Hispanic man beat him up and abducted, police never bought the story. He was arrested around a week later on tampering with evidence charges.
At the time of her disappearance, Maleah was receiving both occupational and physical therapy. She was scheduled to also start speech therapy. She was described as a happy child who loved to watch cartoons.
Reward for Information
Maleah still has not been found. Crime Stoppers is offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to her location. Anyone with any information is urged to contact the Houston Police Department at 713-308-3600 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.
[Feature Photo: Maleah Davis/Handout; Instagram]