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Harris County Grand Jury Indicts Derion Vence With Tampering Of Maleah Davis’ Body

A final autopsy by the medical examiner’s office will be considered as part of any decision regarding possible additional charges.

Houston Police Department via AP
This undated photo released by the Houston Police Department shows Maleah Davis.

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced on Thursday that a grand jury has indicted Derion Vence for tampering with the body of Maleah Davis, the 4-year-old girl who was reported missing in May and was later found dead in Arkansas. On May 11, prosecutors charged Vence with the same offense.

Vence, 27, is the former fiance of Davis’ mother. When he reported the girl’s disappearance he told investigators he was assaulted on the road on May 3, accusing the assailants of stealing his car and abducting Davis.

Houston Police Dept. via AP
This undated photo provided by the Houston Police Dept. shows Derion Vence.

Investigators later debunked that version of events after Vence's car was found and a police canine detected the smell of human remains in the vehicle. They also found evidence of blood in the family's apartment.

On May 31, members of the search and rescue team Texas Equusearch and Houston Police investigators found human remains believed to be those of Davis in Fulton, Arkansas. The discovery occurred after Vence allegedly confessed the location to Houston community activist Quanell X.

On June 3, the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences positively identified the remains as those of Davis. On June 28, the medical examiner ruled the girl’s death a homicide.

The DA’s office said a final autopsy by the medical examiner's office will be considered as part of any decision regarding possible additional charges.

Child Protective Services had been monitoring the home where Davis lived with Vence, her mother and her siblings for months, according to spokeswoman Tiffani Butler.

In August 2018, the girl and her 5-year-old and 1-year-old brothers were removed from the home and placed in the care of relatives after Davis suffered a head injury that eventually led to her having multiple brain surgeries, Butler said.

The children were returned in February but officially remained in state custody and were checked on by a caseworker each month.

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