Stepdad of Missing Texas Girl Arrested in Connection With Her Disappearance

The search is on for Maleah Davis, whose stepfather Darion Vence said was taken by three carjackers who assaulted him in an attack that left him unconscious for nearly 24 hours, police said.

Darion Vence, 26, was charged with tampering with evidence, Houston Police said.

The stepdad of missing Texas 4-year-old Maleah Davis has been arrested in connection with her disappearance.

Darion Vence, 26, was taken into custody on Saturday by the Gulf Coast Violent Offenders Task Force at a relative's home in Sugar Land. He was charged with tampering with evidence, Houston Police said in a statement Saturday.

Police said Vence reported that on May 4 he was driving on Highway 59 with Maleah in the car. He told police he heard a sound that made him think he had a flat tire, so he pulled over. Vence claimed Maleah was taken from three men in a blue pickup truck.

Vence told police he was knocked unconscious during the incident and didn't wake up for 24 hours. He claimed he then walked to Methodist Sugar Land Hospital and reported Maleah missing, police said.

As police continued investigating the case, they uncovered evidence contradicting Vence's story. Police said he claimed his car was taken in the incident, but surveillance video showed someone in that car dropping off Vence at the hospital.

Police also said officers found blood evidence linked to Maleah in Vence's apartment and that he was seen carrying a full laundry basket from the home.

On Thursday, Vence's car was found in Missouri City with the laundry basket and a gas can in the trunk.

Vence's bail is set at $999,999, CNN reported, and he is scheduled to appear in court Monday.

Maleah's father, Craig Davis, had said he spoke directly to Vence in hopes of finding answers.

“I'm not putting the blame on anybody," Davis said. "I just need the questions that aren't answered to be answered. There are so many unanswered questions. It's not for the public to answer to them for me. It's not for the police to answer them for me. It's not for the news to answer them for me. It's for Darion to answer for me."

Before Vence was arrested, a court order issued during an emergency hearing reportedly sent Maleah’s younger half-brother to live with his paternal grandmother and her older brother to his paternal aunt.

The order also prevented Vence and Maleah's mother, Brittany Bowens, from having contact with any of their children. The order was reportedly the result of separate motions by Bowens’ own mother, Brenda Bowens, and the Department of Family and Protective Services.

Maleah has black hair, brown eyes, is 3 feet tall, and weighs between 30 and 40 pounds. She was last seen wearing a light blue Under Armour jacket, blue jeans and gray Under Armour tennis shoes with pink and white details. She has undergone multiple brain surgeries, including one in late March, and is in need of medical care, police said. 

Anyone who may have seen Vence or Maleah is asked to contact Houston Police at 713-308-3600 or Crime Stoppers Houston at 713-222-TIPS.