Texas sheriff: Remains of child found in Arkansas

The remains of a child were found Friday near a freeway in Arkansas where a community activist says a man told him he had dumped the body of a missing Houston girl, police said Friday.

Houston Police Commander Michael Skillern gave an update on the search for Maleah Davis, who disappeared in Houston earlier this month.

The search for Maleah shifted to Arkansas after community activist Quanell X said the man arrested in connection with her disappearance confessed he disposed of her body there.

Quanell X said he spoke on Friday in jail with Derion Vence, the ex-fiance of Maleah’s mother, who had claimed Maleah was abducted May 4. Quanell X said that Vence told him he dumped her body in Arkansas.

Sheriff James Singleton in Arkansas’ Hempstead County said workers found a bag with a foul odor coming from it near Hope, about 30 miles 30 miles northeast of the Texas-Arkansas border

Singleton said the medical examiner’s office in Little Rock likely will have to identify the remains.

“If this is the little girl, we want to make sure that we treat it with respect and dignity,” Singleton said.

Houston police chief Art Acevedo had previously said that evidence showed Maleah had been killed.

The search for Maleah was directed to Arkansas on Friday after Houston police were told by Quanell X, a local civil rights activist who has been involved in the case, that the jailed suspect in the case told him he had dumped Maleah’s body in the state.

Quanell X told reporters that earlier Friday he visited Derion Vence, the ex-fiance of Maleah’s mother, in jail in Houston. Vence has been incarcerated for about three weeks since his arrest on a charge of tampering with evidence, specifically a human corpse.

Vence, 27, had claimed he, Maleah and his 2-year-old son were abducted on May 4 by a group of men in a truck. He said he and his son were freed the next day but the kidnappers kept Maleah and his silver Nissan Altima. Police said Vence’s story kept changing and didn’t add up

Quanell X said Vence told him Maleah is dead and he confessed he dumped the girl’s body in Arkansas off the side of a road. Quanell X declined to comment on what Vence told him regarding how Maleah had died.

“One thing he wanted to make clear to me was what happened to Maleah was an accident,” he said.

Dorian Cotlar, Vence’s attorney, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

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