Remains of a little girl found in Arkansas were identified as belonging to Maleah Davis, a 4-year-old girl from Houston who was reported missing a month ago.
The Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences said the girl’s cause and manner of death were pending further tests and investigation, according to a report by the NBC affiliate in Houston. While Houston police announced Friday that they believed the body found near a freeway in Arkansas was Davis, it was pending confirmation.
Davis was reported missing by her stepfather Derion Vence on May 4. Police say Vence’s story of an assault and kidnapping quickly unraveled. He was arrested and charged seven days later with tampering with evidence in connection with Davis’ disappearance.
Trained police dogs detected the scent of human decomposition in Vence’s abandoned car. Davis’ mother later announced through a spokesperson that she believed that her ex-fiance, Vence, had harmed her daughter.
As the search continued, community activist Quanell X told police Vence confessed to killing the girl and told him where the body was dumped. Police traveled to the spot and discovered the little girl’s remains in a garbage bag near Interstate 30.
Vence remains in custody at the Harris County Jail.