The public turned on the mother of Maleah Davis as she left a Texas courthouse Monday, hurling insults and accusations concerning the missing girl who many fear died at the hands of her mom’s ex-fiance.
Tears streamed down Brittany Bowens’ face as protesters chanted “Where is Maleah?” while her spokesman, Quanell X, addressed the media and called on Derion Vence to confess to hurting the 4-year-old child.
“The main thing right now that all of us want to know is, what did he do with Maleah?” Quanell X said, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Vence, 26, was scheduled to appear in court Monday, but his hearing was rescheduled and could be delayed until July.
Vence, who had been referred to by authorities as Maleah’s stepfather, was taken into custody Saturday for alleged evidence tampering. He was being held on charges of tampering with a human corpse, according to Harris County jail records. Maleah’s body has not been recovered.
Bowens has not been charged in connection to her daughter’s disappearance, but she was lambasted outside court and accused of being as guilty as Vence.
“Why isn’t she locked up?” one heckler reportedly yelled.
“She let it happen,” another said.
Bowens left Maleah and her young son she shares with Vence in his care April 30 to attend her father’s funeral out of state, but the pair apparently parted on bad terms, according to her spokesman.
“She told him she was giving back his ring and that she was not going to marry him,” Quanell X told reporters Friday. “I believe that caused him to snap in anger. There is reason to believe, based on what I know now, there’s issues of him possibly molesting young Maleah.”
Bowens did not report any concerns of alleged abuse to police, Quanell X said.
Surveillance footage obtained by KHOU-TV showed Maleah walking behind Vence toward their apartment complex April 30. She was never seen exiting the apartment, but Vence was allegedly seen leaving the home three days later carrying a blue laundry basket with a garbage bag and bottles of bleach, CBS News reported.
Police said they found drops of blood linked to Maleah inside the apartment and prosecutors said cadaver dogs detected the scent of human remains inside a car Vence claimed was stolen by three men who took the little girl.
Vence initially reported Maleah missing after arriving at a hospital in Sugar Land May 4. Police said he claimed to have been in and out of consciousness for almost 24 hours, after being attacked while examining a possible flat tire on his way to pick up Maleah’s mother at the airport.
But his story changed multiple times during his interview with Sugar Land Police, one of the agencies investigating Maleah’s disappearance, officials said.
"His story did not add up," Sugar Land Police spokesman Doug Adolph told CNN. He did not elaborate on why Vence’s account didn’t make sense or how it had changed.
“The substantive details of what he described to us changed,” Adolph said. "I can say that fundamental parts of his story changed throughout the course of our initial interview.”
Authorities said they also found a blue laundry basket and gas can inside the vehicle. They also said they found footage of Vence arriving at the hospital in the car he said was taken by Maleah’s alleged abductors.
Bowen and Vence last week were banned from seeing Maleah’s brothers, ages 1 and 5, who were placed with relatives. The order was the result of separate motions by Bowens’ own mother, Brenda Bowens, and the Department of Family and Protective Services.
Maleah last year was taken into custody by Child Protective Services after she was rushed to the hospital suffering a seizure and a head injury, KHOU-TV reported.
The little girl was only taken to the hospital after Brenda, arrived home from work and urged she be seen by a doctor, the report said. At the time, Maleah was living with Brenda as well as her mother and Vence.
Doctors said Maleah’s mother and Vence claimed she fell off a chair, but the injury did not align with that explanation, according to KHOU-TV. She was taken into temporary custody by CPS, but a judge returned her to her mother and Vence several months later. No one was charged in connection with the incident. By the time she was 4, Maleah had undergone three head surgeries, her father said.
Vence is being held on a $45,000 bond, which was reduced from $1 million.
Anyone with information regarding Maleah’s disappearance is asked to contact Houston Police at 713-308-3600 or Crime Stoppers Houston at 713-222-TIPS.