Authorities revealed in court why they think there’s a dead body involved in the case of missing 5-year-old Maleah Davis. Two cadaver dogs noted the trunk of a newly recovered Nissan Altima.
“The dogs were responding to the scent of human decomposition in the vehicle,” Harris County prosecutor Pat Stayton said at a probable cause hearing Saturday night for defendant Derion Vence, according to USA Today.
Police arrested Vence for tampering with evidence. Prosecutors reportedly said in court documents that more charges–including murder–could be filed, but this case isn’t there yet. For now, authorities said they do not know Davis’ whereabouts.
According to police in a press conference last Sunday, Vence claimed that he was driving his toddler son and his stepdaughter Davis to the airport to pick up the children’s mother. Long story short, he said they were kidnapped by several Hispanic men in a blue truck. One of them knocked him out, and he fully came to the next day on Saturday, May 4 on the side of a road. His son was there, but there was no sign of Maleah. He also said that the vehicle he’d been driving–the mother’s Nissan Altima–was missing too.
Cops said they found the car Thursday in Missouri City, Texas. According to prosecutors, that’s where the cadaver dogs responded to the vehicle. Authorities also claimed to have found a laundry basket and gas can in the trunk.
Officers said that Vence was seen bringing this “full” basket from Vence’s apartment.
Police claimed they found blood in the hallway and bathroom of the residence, according to court documents reported by News West 9. This matched DNA found on Davis’ toothbrush, investigators said.
Lawyer Rodney Brown was appointed to represent Vence at Saturday’s hearing, but the defendant said he was going to hire a private lawyer, according to The Associated Press. Bond was set at $1 million. A court hearing is scheduled for Monday.
Police have identified Vence as the girl’s stepfather, but Maleah’s mother Brittany Bowens claimed to have broken off the engagement before the disappearance.
[Image via Houston Police Department]