Video shows Derion Vence, suspect in Maleah Davis' disappearance, celebrating her 4th birthday

HOUSTON -- Happy, innocent, angelic - all terms 4-year-old Maleah Davis has been referred to since her disappearance over a month ago.

In video taken by Maleah Davis' mother, Brittany Bowens, on her daughter's most recent birthday, the little girl is seen being held by her suspected killer Derion Vence.

As they sing 'Happy Birthday' to Maleah, Vence holds her close and appears to be smiling while singing along and helping her blow out her birthday cake candles.

Law enforcement officials in Arkansas found a black bag with bones and blood amid their search for Maleah, but they haven't confirmed the remains belong to the missing 4-year-old.

Community activist Quanell X, who advocated for Maleah's mother, told KTRK-TV of the discovery. Hours earlier, Quanell told reporters that the suspect in the disappearance, Derion Vence, confessed that the girl died by accident and her body was dumped in Arkansas.

Hempstead County Sheriff James Singleton said a road crew in Fulton, Arkansas, located the bag with a foul odor.

It's not yet confirmed whether the remains belong to the little girl; however the remains arrived in Houston Friday night for further investigation.

The Harris County Institute of Forensic Science said they have the body of the child that was recovered, and is working to process the identification. They said the identification will take some time.

Houston police, who sent officers to Arkansas, said the remains are that of a child, but it's still not known if it is indeed Maleah.

On Friday, Quanell, told reporters about the new information he claimed to have received from Vence.

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In an impromptu news conference, community activist Quanell X reveals Derion Vence, the suspect in Maleah Davis' disappearance, told him where the 4-year-old's body was dumped.


Quanell said he met earlier in the day with Vence, who has been behind bars since May 11. Among the key details shared with reporters, Quanell said Maleah is dead as a result of an accident. He did not specify how she died.

"All I can say is he told me it was an accident, and that she is dead and where he dumped her body," Quanell said.

Quanell spoke with reporters in a Houston parking lot. He also met there with Texas EquuSearch and detectives to speak about what Vence told him.

Quanell withheld where he was told the body was dumped, only to say it was somewhere in Arkansas. He added that Vence was specific about the "distance and time" of the body's location.

"He said he pulled over in Arkansas, got out of the car, walked off the side of the road, and dumped her body off the side of the road," Quanell said.

Quanell also revealed that Maleah's body was dumped there "early on," possibly indicating shortly after when the girl was first reported missing. The time of her death was not indicated.

Pressed on whether he believed Vence's latest story, Quannel was confident this is truthful.

"I think it's the truth. I don't think he was lying to me. I think he was telling the truth. Many men have confessed to this type of crime," Quannel said.

Tim Miller of Texas EquuSearch added that he thinks the details are true enough to move the search to Arkansas. He added he didn't believe many searchers would be needed based on their information.

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg weighed on the new developments, adding there has not been a plea deal in the case. Ogg's office released this statement:

Let's let search teams do what search teams do. We have spoken with the defendant's lawyer and there is no agreement. We continue to work with the Houston Police Department to bring justice for Maleah Davis.

Vence was once engaged to Bowens.


Vence is in jail, facing a charge of tampering with evidence, namely a corpse.

Maleah was reported missing on May 4 by Vence, who was her primary caretaker while Bowens was out of town for a funeral.
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