Fathers around the community share their sympathy with father of Maleah Davis

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- During an afternoon thunderstorm, in a heavy rain, dozens of people gathered to place pink roses on the fence outside of the apartment where 4-year-old Maleah Davis is said to have spent her final moments.

She disappeared after her mother's ex-fiancée Derion Vence claimed she had been taken by three strangers as he checked his tires on the north Freeway.

Vence was arrested a week later, charged with tampering with evidence, namely a corpse.

Her remains were recovered May 31 next to a highway near Fulton, Arkansas.

Sunday's gathering, timed perfectly with Father's Day, urged dads to be protective of their children.

"It's sad what happened and I hope all the fathers can learn from this experience and just be better," said Damariea Thompson.

'I hate this': Maleah Davis' biological father shares emotional speech before march
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Craig Davis, wearing a white shirt and sunglasses, appeared emotional, but remained calm as he thanked those in the crowd.



At 4-years-old, Maleah had experienced a lot of pain. She was taken away from the home by CPS, after she was hospitalized for head injuries. She was then returned to the home a few months later.

In a jailhouse interview, inmate David Chalfant said Vence told him where he left the girl's body. Chalfant said he reported it to police nearly a week before her remains were recovered in Arkansas. The bag that contained her body had already been mowed over by a high maintenance crew.

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Inmate says Vence drew him a map of the exact location in Arkansas where Maleah Davis' body was.



"I came out to support Maleah, because when you don't speak up, bad things happen," said 12-year-old Savannah Aguillard.

He said Vence claimed earlier that she had died from the flu, then confessed that he tossed Maleah off his lap when she hit her head, and died.



Felisha Jones, with Smart Scholars foundation, told people at the gathering that the girl's death is a call for action.

"The first thing is to teach children to call 911 if someone is hurting them," said Jones. "This child had bruises and injuries. She went to a daycare. Why did no one call then?"

Tim Miller, with Texas Equusearch, was also honored at the event, for his role in this case.

"Her remains were right next to us on the plane," he said. "When we landed, I said, 'You're home, honey.'"

A private funeral service is scheduled for next week.

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