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A missing four-year-old girl’s stepfather remained the sole “person of interest” as authorities were searching for Maleah Davis in and around Houston. Derion Vence, 26, was in custody after his arrest earlier this week.

However, there were still questions about whether her mother, Brittany Bowens, was being completely forthcoming. Bowens sat down Thursday for her first interview and said she was in the dark when it came to any allegations of Vence abusing Maleah.

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“I feel like I’m in a nightmare. A really bad nightmare that I can’t come out of,” Bowens cried to Fox 4 News. “I just feel so broken. My heart feels so broken.” She said that she “wanted to believe” Vence.

When asked about Maleah’s brain injury from the alleged abuse, Bowens attempted to explain herself and fumbled out.

“All I know is when she fell…,” she said. Bowens’ representation then cut her off because it was “CPS stuff,” referring to Texas Child Protective Services, the agency that reportedly removed Maleah from the home because of abuse.

When Bowens was also asked whether she did enough to “protect Maleah” from abuse in her home, she gave a curious answer.

“I’m not sure, I was always home,” Bowens responded.

Texas Child Protective Services reportedly removed Maleah from Bowens’ home last year “due to allegations of physical abuse” that “required several surgeries,” ABC reporter Shelley Childers tweeted earlier this month.

Watch the interview below:

Investigators were reportedly focusing their search on the on a rural area of Rosharon, where Vence once had a mail route, according to KITV. However, Texas Equusearch founder Tim Miller has said he was losing hope in finding the 4-year-old. “I certainly hope it’s not a dumpster. If it’s a dumpster, it’s over,” he said. “I don’t think she’ll ever be found.”

He also said, “I have my fears now that Maleah may never be found but I had that with Kaylee Anthony too, and five months later she was found. So as long as calls keep coming in, we’ll keep going out.”

There has been speculation that Bowens may have something to do with her daughter’s disappearance. Miller said Vence has spoken about how he would murder someone and where he would dump the body. Miller said Bowens confirmed that was true.

Vence originally told Sgt. Mark Holbrook of the Houston Police Department’s Homicide Division that he, Maleah and his two-year-old son were on their way to George Bush Intercontinental Airport Friday night to pick up Maleah’s mother, who was flying in from Massachusetts. Vence said he heard a “popping noise” and pulled over. He said a blue pickup truck pulled up behind his vehicle and two Hispanic males got out and hit him in the head. He said he lost consciousness and woke up at 6 p.m. the next day. He said Maleah was missing but his son was still there. Vence claimed he then walked to a hospital, received treatment and then reported Maleah as missing.

The Associated Press reported that Houston authorities said Vence’s account has “changed several times.”

Maleah was reportedly last seen wearing a pink bow in her hair with a light blue zip-up jacket, blue jeans and gray, white and pink sneakers. She has black hair and brown eyes and stands 3 feet tall, weighing 30 to 40 pounds.

We hope and pray Maleah Davis is found safely.

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