HOUSTON – Family members and supporters crowded the courthouse in downtown Houston in anticipation of the appearance of Derion Vence, the man at the center of the disappearance of 4-year-old Maleah Davis.
Vence was scheduled to go before a judge Monday after he was charged with tampering with evidence, namely a human corpse, but his court date was reset and he did not appear.
Maleah’s mother did not utter a single word as she walked out of the courtroom alongside community activist Quanell X.
She was greeted with cameras, cellphones and a crowd of community members shouting “justice for Maleah” as she made her way to the elevator, but she never broke stride.
Instead, Quanell X addressed the people saying their main concern is answering the question, “Where is Maleah?”
“The main thing right now – that all of us want to know is, ‘What did he do with Maleah?’” Quanell X said. “(That’s) the bottom line.”
Among those in the courthouse was also the cousin of Maleah’s biological father, Tamisha Mendoza. Mendoza said Maleah’s father is devastated and is in no state to be in court.
“He’s not here because right now it’s too much,” Mendoza said. “Honestly, I would prefer that he got himself together before he came and listened to the details of this case.”
Mendoza said Maleah was a happy girl and didn’t deserve whatever happened to her.
Vence reported the 4-year-old missing Saturday, May 4, after he claimed he, his son and Maleah were kidnapped by three men in a blue Chevy truck.
Court documents said police found blood in the apartment where Maleah lived with Vence and her mother. They said it matched the child’s DNA.
Surveillance cameras caught Vence leaving the apartment with a laundry basket and a black trash bag inside.
More surveillance video from a neighbor who lives across from where Maleah lived caught Vence walking to his vehicle alone the same day as the child’s disappearance.
Community members placed teddy bears, balloons and candles outside the family’s apartment door Sunday and, with tears in their eyes, desperately asked: “Where is Maleah?”
Texas EquuSearch resumed its search for Maleah on Monday morning.