Maleah Davis' heartbreaking death haunted Shirley Scarpetta so much, she was compelled to craft a bronze sculpture of the 4-year-old.
Maleah was found dead in late May, a month after she was last seen in public.
"The story was so compelling and she was so beautiful and she didn't have a voice, and it was just in my soul to say, 'OK, I’ll be a voice, little girl,'” Scarpetta told InsideEdition.com. “She won’t die in vain, she'll be remembered."
Like many others, the Houston-based artist was unsettled by Maleah’s gruesome end.
Maleah was last seen in April, entering her Texas apartment with Derion Vence, who was her mother's fiance at the time.
Days later, authorities said Vence told them he'd been attacked by three men who abducted Maleah, but investigators said his story didn't add up.
Vence was arrested and charged in connection to her disappearance. He maintains that he did not kill her.
A month later, Davis’ remains were found in a black garbage bag along an Arkansas freeway.
According to KTRK, the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences ruled homicidal violence was the cause of her death. The agency has not released any further details, including the manner of her death.
The Harris County District Attorney’s Office said it will continue to investigate.
“She wouldn't get out of my head. And I cried and cried over this story, which is you know, I’m very empathetic with stories and things like that, and I sympathize with them, but this one just captured my soul. And so it was just this thing in my mind, like, 'Sculpt me, sculpt me, sculpt me,'" Scarpetta said.
Scarpetta said she posted about the project on Instagram late at night and a private donor contacted her immediately. That’s when she got to work.
“It usually takes me three weeks to a month to sculpt something of that magnitude, and I did it in almost a day and a half which is almost — I can’t — I can’t describe to you what has transpired, other than it’s beyond me,” Scarpetta said.
Her goal is to have the sculpture displayed publicly.
"This is just the way God works. You know, I’m just grateful for this opportunity to be her voice, but she won't be forgotten, " Scarpetta said.