A monthlong search for a missing 4-year-old girl from Texas reached a tragic ending over the weekend after human remains found in Arkansas were confirmed to be hers.
Law enforcement officials said Friday they had found what they believed to be Maleah Davis' body in Arkansas, but that they would not be able to confirm the identity of the remains until an autopsy was conducted.
A work crew mowing the side of Interstate 30 more than 300 miles away from Houston spotted a bloody garbage bag on the side of the road earlier in the week, the Houston Chronicle reported, but decided to leave it alone, thinking it was a dead animal. Later, a mower tore the garbage bag open and scattered its contents along the roadside.
On Monday, officials with the Harris County Institute of Forensic Scientists confirmed that the remains indeed belonged to Maleah.
The little girl went missing on April 30. Her mother, Brittany Bowens, left town for a family funeral in Massachusetts and left the girl in the care ex-fiance Derion Vence, along with the younger son that the two share. Days later, on the night of May 4, Vince and his son arrived at Houston Methodist Hospital saying that he had been attacked on the way to pick up Bowens from the airport and that Maleah had been abducted.
That's when the search began.
Vence initially sent police on the search for "three Hispanic males in their 30s, driving a 2010 blue Chevrolet crew cab pickup truck," according to a public information release.
A month of public worry and speculation about the girl's fate came to a close late last week, however, after Vence reportedly said that the girl had died accidentally on his watch and that he had left her remains across state lines in Arkansas, according to activist Quannell X, who had previously acted as a spokesman for Bowens.
"All I can say to you is that he told me it was an accident," X told reporters on Friday.
The cause and manner of Maleah's death still have not been confirmed or released to the public.
In an interview with HLN on Thursday, X described a tumultuous relationship between Bowens and Vence, in which Maleah was caught in the crossfire. He also said that Bowens admitted that Maleah had been physically abused by Vence and that she had helped cover it up on multiple occasions.
Bombshell: Houston activist Quanell X tells @LynnSmithTV he will no longer represent the mom of missing 4-year-old… https://t.co/mudNE9Dnwm— HLN (@HLN) 1559238770.0