Going north on I-30, exit 18 is a nondescript, mostly commercial area where truck drivers make quick turns off the access road.
Along its embankments, trees are thick and the grass must be trimmed regularly. It was in this place where the plastic bag believed to include Maleah's remains sat on the side of the road for weeks.
Yet just a few miles away from this sad highway exit, the weekend was filled with joy and happiness.
The children's laughter pierced the humid air in the tiny town of McNab, Arkansas, where mothers and grandmothers are in shock after the search for Maleah ended just a few miles away.
"We were just really in shock," said one mother. "To have something like that happen, we were really just thinking about our own kids, and it really just captured everyone's emotions we did hear about it."
Law enforcement officials in Arkansas found a black bag with bones and blood just a few miles away from McNab amid their search for Maleah.
Hempstead County Sheriff James Singleton added a road crew in Fulton located the bag with a foul odor.
The remains arrived in Houston Friday night for further investigation.
READ MORE: MALEAH DAVIS: Plane arrives in Houston carrying child's remains recovered from Arkansas
Maleah was no different than the kids screaming for joy at a children's party in McNab Saturday.
Parents are now left wondering how anyone could dump a child's body a short drive from so much happiness.
"It just tore me apart to know someone can do a child like that," said another mother. "I just don't understand that. I just don't understand what makes people do that. That's a sad occasion."
Vence is in jail, facing a charge of tampering with evidence, namely a corpse. Law enforcement has not confirmed whether Maleah has died, but many officials indicated she is not likely alive.
Depending on autopsy reports, Vence's charges could be upgraded. But in McNab, where no one has ever met Vence or Maleah, they are simply left wondering why.
"I don't know what kind of man would do something like that," said a mother. "There's got to be something wrong with his head."
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