HOUSTON, Texas (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — The mother of a missing Texas girl said through a spokesman Friday that she believes the man who reported the 4-year-old was abducted harmed the girl.
Authorities have been searching for Maleah Davis since Saturday, when Darion Vence told police she was taken by men in a pickup truck after he pulled over on a highway a week ago.
Police in Houston confirmed the silver Nissan Altima reported stolen by Darion Vence was found Thursday morning in the middle of a strip mall parking lot in Missouri City, Texas, about 17 miles southwest of Houston.
At a press conference Thursday morning Houston Police Department Homicide Detective Ken Fregia said, “Earlier today a citizen, who works for a local taxicab company, noticed the car sitting here in the parking lot. She did the right thing, she called in… to police.”
Maleah’s mother, Brittany Bowens, stood outside her apartment and sobbed Friday as Quanell X, a local civil rights activist, addressed reporters on her behalf.
Quanell X made wide-ranging allegations against Vence, including that he had abused Maleah. He said Bowens acknowledges she should have brought the information to police earlier and now intends to.
Vence and Bowens were recently in a fight and she broke off their engagement, Quanell X said. Authorities have previously described Vence as Maleah’s stepfather.
A Houston police spokesman declined to comment Friday. Quanell X did not respond to an email and phone message.
Child Protective Services removed Maleah and her brothers from the home Vence and Bowens shared in August after the girl suffered a head wound, but the children were returned in February, according to an agency spokeswoman.
Vence could not be reached for comment. A Houston homicide detective said Thursday that Vence had not spoken with investigators since last week.
Vence told police Saturday that he was driving to the airport to pick up Bowens last Friday night when he pulled over to check if it had a flat tire, according to Houston police. Vence said men in a pickup truck then pulled up, knocked him out and abducted him, Maleah and his 2-year-old son before eventually allowing him and the boy to go free, police said.
Vence reported this at a hospital in the Houston suburb of Sugar Land, which he said he walked to Saturday night after being in and out of consciousness for about 24 hours.
Houston police, who are leading the investigation, have said they would like to speak with Vence but have not said he is a suspect or person of interest.
A Sugar Land police spokesman told The Associated Press that Vence’s initial account “changed several times” and “just didn’t add up.”