Blood found in apartment of suspect in 4-year-old's disappearance, police say

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Monday, May 13, 2019
Blood found in apartment of suspect in 4-year-old's disappearance, police say.
Blood found in apartment of suspect in 4-year-old's disappearance, police say.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Derion Vence, the man who authorities say was the last person to see missing 4-year-old Maleah Davis, had bond set late Saturday after his arrest on a tampering with evidence charge in the disappearance.

A judge set bond at $1 million on the "tampering with evidence, namely a corpse" count, according to jail records. Law enforcement officials have not yet confirmed whether the girl died, but investigators do not think Maleah is still alive.

The judge reviewed evidence in court on Saturday night.

FULL VIDEO: Derion Vence's first court appearance after arrest in Maleah Davis' disappearance

FULL VIDEO: Suspect in Maleah Davis' disappearance faces first court appearance

Police say they observed drops of blood in the hallway leading to the bathroom of Vence's apartment and on various surfaces of the bathroom.

Officials say they then used a chemical agent that was sprayed and reacted to blood in the hallway and bathroom of the apartment. They say the chemical reacted to the presence of blood that could not be seen by the eye.

According to police, canine officers who are trained to sniff the scent of a cadaver were brought to the suspect's vehicle and other vehicles in the parking lot. Both dogs reacted to the suspect's trunk, indicating that they sensed human decomposition in the vehicle.

A law enforcement source also tells Eyewitness News that Maleah was last seen alive on surveillance video in her family's apartment complex on April 30, the same day her mother left town for a funeral. Cameras captured Vence bringing her back into their family apartment that morning.

Following that morning, investigators say he was never seen with her.

On May 3, cameras captured Vence leaving the apartment with his 1-year-old son, a laundry basket, and a black trash bag inside.

Mom's ex-fiancé seen before and after Maleah Davis disappeared: Exclusive photos

On Saturday, Houston police added the laundry basket was found along with a gas can in the trunk of the vehicle that Vence reported stolen. The vehicle was recovered in the Missouri City area on Thursday.

Police also revealed the same vehicle was seen on surveillance video on May 5 at Methodist Sugar Land Hospital, where someone dropped off Vence. It was there that Vence first made the claim that he was attacked and that Maleah may have been kidnapped.

ABC13 obtained a new surveillance image from that night outside the hospital:

Texas EquuSearch volunteers have been looking for Maleah since the story of her abduction as told to police by Vence.

Vence reported that on the night of May 3, he was on his way to Bush Intercontinental Airport with Maleah and his 1-year-old son to pick up the girl's mother, Brittany Bowens.

He said that he pulled over near Greens Road and Highway 59 to check his tires because he heard a popping noise.

As Vence was checking his vehicle, he claims three Hispanic men in a 2010 blue Chevrolet crew cab pickup truck pulled up.

During a press conference, police said Vence told them he was ambushed by the men, with one of them hitting him on the head, and he lost consciousness.

The next thing he knew, Vence said he woke up on the side of Highway 6 near First Colony Mall around 6 p.m. May 4. His son was with him, but Maleah was not.

Police said Vence went to Houston Methodist Hospital in Sugar Land around 11 p.m. to seek treatment for his injuries with his son.

Vence said she was last seen in the 16500 block of the Southwest Freeway on May 4.

Meanwhile, Bowens had another family member pick her up from the airport when Vence and the children didn't arrive.

She told ABC13 a police report was filed Saturday morning after not hearing from Vence.

On Monday, Texas EquuSearch crews began to look for Maleah in the area of Greens Road and Highway 59, where Vence said he and his family were first approached.

The Houston Police Department requested the immediate help of the group, who has been searching on foot and by ATV.

"I'm choked up right now thinking about her," Miller told ABC13. "I've been on these cases before. If it doesn't touch your heart, and you don't get emotional, you're just not human."

WATCH: 'We believe in miracles'

Mom says she's terrified for daughter, who is missing

Monday night, ABC13 learned the child was recently returned to her home after CPS removed her last August.

According to CPS officials, the girl and her two siblings - 5-year-old and 1-year-old boys - were removed as the agency investigated allegations of physical abuse related to her head injury.

RELATED: Missing 4-year-old girl removed last year by CPS: Officials

The search continues into night 2 for 4-year-old Maleah Davis.

The three siblings were brought back in February.

Brittany Bowens, mother of Maleah Davis, speaks out at press conference.

In an exclusive interview with ABC13 Eyewitness News, Bowens said it was determined a fall was the cause of the girl's injuries.

RAW VIDEO: 'I'm terrified for Maleah' Mom of missing girl speaks to ABC13

Missing girl's mom says she is terrified for her.

Bowens told ABC13 on Monday that she's terrified for her daughter.

"My spirit is so broken, I feel so lost. I can't concentrate, I can't focus. It's so overwhelming for me. It doesn't seem real," Bowens said tearfully.

Then, Bowens levied a bombshell allegation against Vence, accusing him of abusing the girl.

Anyone with information on Maleah Davis' whereabouts is urged to contact HPD at 713-308-3600 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.