MALEAH DAVIS: Search for 4-year-old suspended until crews find better target area

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Thursday, May 16, 2019
Volunteers search for signs of missing 4-year-old along suspect's old mail route
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The main suspect in Maleah's disappearance used to work for the postal service, and reportedly said his mail route would be a good place to hide a dead body.

ROSHARON, Texas -- Texas EquuSearch is temporarily suspending the search for 4-year-old Maleah Davis after it says it has followed up on a multitude of leads.

After days of working hand-in-hand with investigators, Tim Miller of EquuSearch says none of the tips have been fruitful in helping solve what happened to the missing girl.

Volunteers have been looking for any sign of her out in a rural area of Rosharon.

Derion Vence, the man charged in Maleah's disappearance, reportedly once said his mail route would be a good place to hide a dead body. Miller says the group focused on those areas on Wednesday.

The postmaster told ABC13 Eyewitness News that Vence worked at the Rosharon post office from June 2017 until August 2018.

Miller says they targeted the mail route because of the comment Vence made to his former fiance's mother.

"He actually said to his mother-in-law a year ago that, 'Man, if I ever killed anybody, I've got some places down in Rosharon they'd never find the body,'" Miller said. "I talked to Brittany on the phone to see if that was correct or just a rumor, and she said, 'Yea, that was correct.'"

For two days, Texas EquuSearch combed through fields and pasture, using trucks to check road-side ditches, ground crews to walk through neighborhoods and a helicopter to search from above.

Search crews are looking for clues they know are a part of the prosecutor's evidence, like the black bag Vence was seen carrying inside of a laundry basket and a can of gasoline they found inside the trunk of the family's car.

"We feel as though there is a strong possibility that she was burned," Miller said. "Many of these areas are under water. We've tried to find burn spots. We've tried to find whatever we can by the air."

He says that they are losing time and the recent heavy rains have flooded their search area.

"Are we going to have to redo these areas as water goes down? Of course, we will," Miller said.

With each day that goes by with no clear signs of where Maleah may be, the search gets more dire, according to Miller.

"This is a baby. This baby did not choose where it's at right now and doesn't want to be where it's at right now. It's heartbreaking," Miller said.

Wednesday night, the community gathered in Sugar Land for a balloon release honoring Maleah.

Maleah was reported missing on May 4.

On May 6, volunteers with Texas EquuSearch focused on the Eastex Freeway and Greens Road in northeast Houston. That's where Vence said he was attacked and Maleah and his car were taken the night of May 3.

That day, friends and family also handed out flyers in their search.

Vence said he woke up along Southwest Freeway 24 hours after Maleah was taken. The search then moved to southwest Houston and the family's apartment, where Maleah was last seen.

The search was suspended on May 8 due to flooding.

The search resumed on May 9. The family car was found later that day at a shopping center on Highway 6 in Missouri City.

Law enforcement officials have not yet confirmed whether Maleah died, but investigators do not think she is still alive.

On Thursday, Crime Stoppers of Houston announced they were offering up to a $5,000 reward for information regarding the case.


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