(AP) — Houston police say the remains of a child have been found in Arkansas in the vicinity of where a man says he dumped the body of a missing 4-year-old Texas girl.
Houston Police Commander Michael Skillern gave an update on the search for Maleah Davis, who disappeared in Houston.
The search for Maleah shifted to Arkansas after a community activist said the man arrested in connection with her disappearance confessed he disposed of her body there.
Quanell X, a local civil rights activist, says he spoke on Friday in jail with Derion Vence, the ex-fiance of Maleah’s mother, who had claimed Maleah was abducted May 4. Vence told Quanell X he dumped her body in Arkansas.
HOUSTON, Texas (KTAL/KMSS) – Remains have been found in southwest Arkansas in the search for a missing 4-year-old Houston girl.
Hempstead County Sheriff James Singleton says the remains were found along I-30 near Fulton after a mowing crew found a black garbage bag emitting a foul odor.
The location of the discovery is about 18 miles west of where officials had been searching near an exit ramp in Hope.
Local, state and federal authorities converged in the area off of I-30 and cordoned off the Exit 18 eastbound on-ramp to Fulton with police tape, where the focus of the search appeared to intensify shortly after 2 p.m. Friday before news of the discovery closer to Fulton was confirmed.
The search comes after civil rights activist Quanell X revealed at a news conference Friday morning that Vence told him that Maleah’s death was an accident and that he had confessed to dumping her body from an exit ramp somewhere in Arkansas.
A short time later, Hempstead County Sheriff James Singleton confirmed that he has been in touch with Houston police and that they were coordinating a search. At the time, Singleton said Vence was being flown into the area to assist in the search. Singleton has since said that those plans changed and that Vence was not being brought in after all.
Houston police confirmed early Friday afternoon that they are in contact with officials in Arkansas and that their homicide detectives were on their way to Arkansas to follow up on “new information” received in the search for Maleah Davis.
Vence has been in jail since May 11 when he was charged with tampering with evidence in connection with Maleah’s disappearance after investigators said blood found in the family’s southwest Houston apartment matched DNA taken from Maleah’s toothbrush.
KPRC reported earlier Friday that Tim Miller, of Texas EquuSearch, said he had chartered a flight Friday to Arkansas where teams will conduct a search for Maleah.
According to investigators, Vence said he, Maleah and Maleah’s younger brother were attacked April 30 when he stopped to inspect a damaged tire. He said he was knocked out during the attack and when he regained consciousness, Maleah and the family’s car were missing.
Vence reported Maleah missing May 3 when he went to a Sugar Land hospital for treatment of his injuries he said he suffered during the April 30 attack.
Investigators said there have been inconsistencies in Vence’s story.