Family of missing 2-year-old meets with Quanell X, seeks answers

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- People across Houston are upset and demand justice after the body of a young girl was found in a southeast Houston bayou as crews searched for missing 2-year-old Maliyah "Tootie" Bass.

On Monday, Maliyah's mom and her boyfriend went back to the apartment, where neighbors who had set up a memorial for the toddler at the front door of where she lived, became very angry.

They were yelling at Bass' mother and her boyfriend who were escorted into their apartment by members of Quanell X's team. Neighbors were having to hold back others who live in the complex from charging at the child's mother. They said the story that has been told does not make sense and they want justice for the child.





Maliyah was last seen Saturday at a park in the 10600 block of Beechnut St., wearing a black tank top with multi-colored polka dots paired with matching pants and a pair of blue shoes. She was carrying a pink and white pillowcase with letter blocks inside when she went missing.

Police say Maliyah's mom told them the 2-year-old was playing in the courtyard outside their apartment. The 20-year-old said she left the toddler alone for a few minutes, when she came back Maliyah was missing.

"They admit they realize this is a very very high crime area. It doesn't make sense that if you know this is a high crime area, why would you bring your baby to a playground, go back in the house and shut the door behind you. That makes no sense. That is negligence as a parent," activist Quanell X said.

Just over 24 hours after her disappearance, a jogger spotted the body of a child more than 15 miles away in Brays Bayou.

Houston police say the body is that of Maliyah, but the identification is still pending. After the body was found, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said he is "highly confident" foul play is involved in this case.

SEE ALSO: Foul play 'highly suspected' after body believed to be missing 2-year-old found in bayou

In a briefing held on Sunday afternoon, Acevedo reiterated that sentiment saying based on what investigators discovered, there is a "high probability it will be her."

"We don't want to give people false hope," explained Acevedo. "We want to hold on to a little hope, but we want to prepare for the worst. Based on the proximity to where Maliyah was reported missing, there's a high probability that it is her."

Equusearch and Houston police homicide detectives searched more than 30 miles of Brays Bayou on four-wheelers and kayaks on Monday. They said they were looking for clothing or any other clues that might lead them to a suspect.

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"Our job is to try our very best to find out what happened," said Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo.



Quanell X said he has chosen not to represent the family but he will continue searching for the truth.

"I'm uncomfortable with the things I've been told. I'm uncomfortable with the things I've seen in the apartment complex," he said.

Among the neighbors, there is a lot of talk about the Maleah Davis case that captured the attention of the City of Houston. Neighbors have said there are a lot of similarities between the two - the name, the fact that she went missing, but they're hoping the outcome is not the same.

With no leads or an official suspect, Acevedo is urging anyone with information to immediately contact authorities.

"If you live or have a business by the bayou, roll back for the last 24 hours and take an extensive look at any camera you might have," said Acevedo. "If you saw anything suspicious in the last 24 hours, just anything that's happened along this bayou, just call us right away."

Moving forward, Acevedo said police are "approaching this as a murder investigation" and has tasked Texas EquuSearch to help conduct additional searches for evidence, such as pulling up maps of the area surrounding the bayou and tracking the area where the girl was reported missing.

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