Maleah Davis, the 4-year-old Houston girl who's been the focus of an intensive search for nearly three weeks, has likely been murdered, the city's top cop said Thursday.
Davis was reported missing by her mother’s boyfriend, who has been jailed in connection with her disappearance. Though officials say Davis is assumed to be dead, authorities have yet to find her remains.
“We really believe we have a little girl that’s been murdered. We believe that she’s out there somewhere, and we want to bring her home," Police Chief Art Acevedo said.
He appealed to the public for help in finding the girl.
“She deserves to be found,” Acevedo said, according to FOX26 Houston. “She deserves to be recovered. She deserves to have a proper burial. We need the community's help. We need people not to forget. This is not a cat that someone buried in their backyard.”
The boyfriend Derion Vence, 26, told police that men in a truck had abducted him, Maleah and his 2-year-old son, but had freed him and the boy. He reported her missing May 5.
Vence was arrested May 12 on a charge of tampering with evidence after cops say trained dogs detected the scent of human decomposition in his vehicle. Cops say they also found blood in his apartment linked to Maleah.
“We strongly believe he knows where she’s at and if he wanted to tell us, he would,” Acevedo said, according to KTVT.
A reward for information that helps police find Maleah was upped to $15,000 Thursday.