HOUSTON – In a story May 6 about a reported abduction of a 4-year-old Houston girl, The Associated Press, relying on information provided by Houston police, misspelled the name of the man who told police the girl had been abducted. His name is Derion Vence, not Darion Vence. The AP also reported that police referred to Vence as the girl's stepfather. A spokesman for the girl's mother says she and Vence lived together and were engaged, but that she recently broke off the engagement.
A corrected version of the story is below:
Police: Man says 4-year-old girl abducted in Houston
Houston police are searching for a 4-year-old girl after her guardian says she was abducted by men who let him and his 2-year-old son go free
HOUSTON (AP) — A Houston man told investigators that a 4-year-old girl he was caring for was abducted by men in a pickup truck who beat him but then let him and his 2-year-old son go free, police said.
Police said Derion Vence reported Maleah Davis missing on Saturday night, telling investigators that men abducted him and the two children Friday evening. He told police that after one of the men hit him, he was in and out of consciousness for almost 24 hours. Vence had been engaged to Maleah's mother, but she recently broke off the engagement, according to a spokesman for the woman.
Authorities issued an Amber Alert on Sunday morning. Sgt. Mark Holbrook said at a news conference later Sunday that they were trying to figure out "what story is true, what really happened."
"We don't know. I just don't know and I don't want to speculate," Holbrook said.
At the request of police, a local group on Monday searched an area near where Vence said the abduction happened.
Holbrook said Vence told authorities he was driving to George Bush Intercontinental Airport around 9 p.m. Friday to pick up the girl's mother when he heard a popping sound that made him think his tire was flat. He veered to the side of the road to check it, then men in a pickup truck pulled up behind him, he said.
Vence told police that one of the men commented that Maleah looked "very nice" and "very sweet" and that another of the men hit him. He told police he briefly regained consciousness to find that he and the children were in the men's truck.
Vence said when he came to around 6 p.m. Saturday he and the boy were no longer in the pickup but were near a highway, according to police. He said he then started walking to a hospital, arriving there around 10 p.m. or 11 p.m., and reported the girl missing.
Asked why Vence didn't call police sooner, Houston police department spokesman Kese Smith said he couldn't comment on whether he had a cellphone with him in the hours before he arrived at the hospital. The department is investigating "all aspects" of this case, Smith said.
Holbrook said the vehicle Vence was driving is missing. He said a traffic camera showed it driving through an intersection in the Houston suburb of Sugar Land around 3 p.m. Saturday.
"I realize there's a lot of blanks in that story, but we're hoping the public can fill in the blanks," Holbrook said.
According to police, the girl has undergone brain surgeries.
"She's needed a lot of care and she was sick this week, too," Holbrook said.