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Investigators seize Derion Vence's cellphone records

Homicide investigators said the call history stored in Vence’s phone could reveal who he communicated with after the last time Maleah was seen on camera.

HOUSTON — Investigators on the Maleah Davis case have seized Derion Vence’s cellphone records.

This comes after a warrant was issued May 15 to his cellphone provider for his phone records during April 30 and May 15.

"We were confident that the suspect we had in custody was probably involved in her killing," said HPD Chief Art Acevedo, speaking publicly for the first time since Maleah's remains were found in Arkansas. "Suffice it to say we will leave no stone unturned and get to the bottom of what happened to this little girl."

Homicide investigators said they have reason to believe the call history stored in Vence’s phone could reveal who he communicated with after the last time Maleah was seen on camera, which was April 30.

At this point no one other than Vence has been charged. 

"We have every intention of bringing charges for the person or persons responsible for Maleah's death or the coward or cowards who dumped her like roadkill in Arkansas," said Acevedo.

“…if the missing phone is being used subsequent to defendant’s claim that it was left in his Nissan, the call history data could lead investigators to the person using the phone, and would provide information regarding from whom calls are being received.”

Vence told investigators he lost his phone on May 3 when he was confronted and assaulted by two Hispanic men on the way to the Bush airport to pick up Maleah’s mom, Brittany Bowens.

He claims the attack happened near Highway 59 and Greens Road and Maleah and his 2-year-old son were with him.

Vence said he lost conscious during the confrontation and when he woke up, he and the two children were in the men’s pickup truck. He claimed during the confrontation his phone was in his 2011 Nissan Altima and that’s the last time he saw it.

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A day later, Vence said woke up somewhere off Highway 59 in the Sugar Land area with his 2-year-old son. There was no sign of Maleah.

For days, police searched for Vence’s missing car hoping to find evidence that would lead them to Maleah’s whereabouts.

The Altima was found on May 9 in Missouri City. When police looked through the car they did not find Maleah or Vence’s cellphone.

Detectives were able to get surveillance video from the porch of an apartment next to Vence’s apartment and they learned on May 3, Vence did leave his apartment with his 2-year-old son, but Malelah was never with them.

Vence remains charged with tampering with evidence related to a human corpse in connection to Maleah Davis’ death. He remains in the Harris County Jail. 

He has been ordered to undergo a mental heath assessment, according to court records. 

A medical examiner has not released a cause of death.   

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