The father of the Texas man suspected in the disappearance of Maleah Davis has spoken out against the little girl’s mother, saying she should be looked at by investigators instead of his son.
Joe Vence Sr., whose son Derion Vence was charged with tampering with evidence relate to a corpse after police said his story that men attacked him and abducted Maleah “didn’t add up,” said that while his son’s claims were hard to believe, he knows he is not guilty.
“Yeah, I believe my son is innocent and I believe his story," Joe told Melvin Cedeno of the IckedMel YouTube Channel. "Derion had those kids most of the time, he's the one who took care of the kids.”
Derion handled the majority of drop-offs and pick-ups to and from day care for Maleah and her two brothers and raised the 4-year-old girl as if she were his own, Joe said.
“I know he didn't do anything to her because he loves her. He's been taking care of her since she was, like, 1 year old,” he said.
Saying that his son has been framed by Maleah’s mother, Brittany Bowens, Joe shot down her claims that Derion sexually and physically abused the little girl.
“Why would you leave your child at home with him if he's doing all of these things?" Joe said.
Bowens said she ended her engagement to Derion April 30 before flying to Massachusetts for her father’s funeral. Police said they verified her trip.
Police have not identified Bowens as a suspect. She has maintained her innocence, saying last week that she had nothing to do with her daughter's disappearance.
"People are entitled to however they think ... I know my truth," she said. "And I love my daughter unconditionally ... I don't have it in my heart to do anything like that."
Also on April 30, Maleah was seen on surveillance footage walking behind Derion into their apartment building. It was the last known time Maleah was seen alive, and four days later, Derion was pictured carrying a laundry basket with a large garbage bag back out of the apartment.
“He was actually doing laundry,” Joe said, remaining steadfast in his belief that his son did not hurt Maleah. “He’s not the type of person that’s going to harm a child at all.”
That same day Derion was pictured with a laundry basket, surveillance footage showed him leaving the apartment with his young son. Hours later, he would report being attacked by men who then took Maleah. Derion remains jailed on $45,000 bond.
Maleah has not yet been found.