UPDATED: June 12, 8:07 a.m. EDT —
The date for Maleah Davis‘ funeral has been set to take place nearly two months after she went missing in Houston. Her family has launched an online crowdfunding campaign to help pay for the services, which the four-year-old’s obituary said will be private.
The obituary posted on the website of the Richardson Mortuary in Houston goes on to refer to Maleah as “the adored daughter of Craig Davis Jr. and Brittany Bowens,” the latter of which is her mother who has come under heightened scrutiny for her possible role in the child’s suspicious disappearance in early May. Bowens was the subject of a petition that appeared to be gaining steam after it called Maleah’s mother to be charged.
Those developments came days after Maleah was remembered in Houston as well as Arkansas, where her remains were found last week. People in Arkansas remembered her on Saturday in the same place where the missing four-year-old’s remains were found. That somber moment of remembrance came ahead of Houston marking Sunday as Maleah Davis Day in the city that she both called home and went missing from.
A group in Houston called Dear Maleah also organized a walk in the girl’s honor Sunday morning.
“The mile-long walk took participants from City Hall to Harris County Jail, where there was a moment of silence for Maleah, and then participants walked back to City Hall for a bubble release in her honor,” according to the local ABC affiliate.
The weekend observations came days after investigators moved to execute a warrant for the cellphone of Maleah’s stepfather, Darion Vence, who has been jailed for tampering with a corpse but not charged in her death.
“According to a Houston police investigator, they don’t have enough information to prove intent,” Fox News reported. “That’s why there is no murder charge at this point, police say they’re not looking at other suspects at this time.”
Vence reportedly confessed last week and pointed officials to Arkansas, where Maleah’s remains were found. After officials learned that Vence said Maleah’s body was in Arkansas, they retrieved a garbage bag with human remains from that location and began DNA testing that ultimately confirmed Monday morning that the contents were Maleah.
The unfortunate saga that unfolded in Houston showed that fact can many times be much more twisted than fiction. Davis’ disappearance made national headlines as Vence claimed that three Hispanic men beat him and kidnapped the little girl. Vence said that on May 4, he, Davis and his two-year-old son were on their way to George Bush International Airport to pick up Davis’ mother. A picture of Vence at the hospital with several cuts on his forehead began to circulate as he claimed to be a victim of violence, but it did not take long for his story to appear to unravel.
Over the course a few weeks, many began to suspect that Vence knew more about Davis’ whereabouts than he let on. Police arrested Vence days later for tampering with evidence after blood and human decomposition was found in his car. Surveillance video also shows Davis entering an apartment behind Vence, but never coming out. In addition, Vence is seen on the video holding a laundry basket with a garbage bag inside. However, he has avoided being charged with the child’s murder.
Since Vence’s arrest, Bowens has been thrust into the spotlight and many have accused her of also being involved in her own daughter’s disappearance. Bowen has denied any wrongdoing.
During the course of the investigation, it was reported how Maleah and her siblings were reportedly previously removed from Bowens’ home after Texas Child Protective Services (CPS) workers determined allegations of abuse were credible.
“In August 2018, Maleah and her brothers were placed with a relative following physical abuse allegations, stemming from a head injury she had, CPS said Monday night,” CNN wrote days after Maleah was reportedly kidnapped. “A judge ordered their return home in February and called for CPS to maintain temporary conservatorship and visit the home at least once a month to check on the family.”
Maleah reportedly had multiple brain surgeries. According to ABC reporter Shelly Childers, the surgeries were due to physical abuse.
Family members began to play the blame game and pointed their fingers at each other as no one seemed to want to accept any responsibility for what has happened to Maleah.
See the timeline of this heartbreaking saga below.
1. April 30, 2019
Maleah Davis is last seen on surveillance footage at her apartment wearing a pink tutu. Davis trailed behind her stepfather, Derion Vence. There is no footage of the four-year-old ever leaving the apartment.
2. May 3, 2019
Surveillance footage catches Derion Vence leaving his apartment with a laundry basket with a trash bag inside. Maleah Davis is nowhere in sight.
3. May 4, 2019
Maleah Davis was reported missing by her stepfather, Derion Vence. Vence claimed two Hispanic men abducted them while riding in the car with Davis and his one-year-old son. They were on their way to pick up Davis’ mother, Brittany Bowens who had been traveling from Massachusetts. Vence said the men beat him and kidnapped Davis.
4. May 5, 2019
An Amber Alert was issued for five-year-old Maleah Davis.
5. May 6, 2019
Maleah Davis’ mother, Brittany Bowens, speaks out for the first time regarding her disappearance. Bowens said she was afraid for her daughter and that this “doesn’t seem real.”
“My spirit is broken. I feel so lost,” Bowens said. “I can’t concentrate. I can’t focus. It’s just, it’s so overwhelming for me. It doesn’t seem real.”
6. May 7, 2019
Maleah Davis’ biological father, Craig, spoke out for the first time. Craig said he wanted to talk with Devion Vence. He also said that he had not spoken publicly because it was hard to talk about his daughter.
“I haven’t spoken to the public because I can’t talk about my daughter,” Craig Davis told ABC13 Eyewitness News. “I can’t control my emotions. I can’t predict myself. I break down and I cry.”
7. May 7, 2019
Reports begun to surface that Maleah Davis was the victim of abuse. In August, Davis and two of her siblings were removed from their home by Child Protective Services after suffering an injury that required brain surgery. Brittany Bowens claimed the injury was sustained during a fall.
Just before her disappearance, Davis had just recently returned home.
8. May 9, 2019
Police confirm that Derion Vence’s missing car was found. It was located in Missouri City, Texas. Police searched the trunk for evidence. There was still no sign of Maleah Davis.
9. May 10, 2019
After images from security footage is released, Brittany Bowens and activist Quanell X hold a press conference to level explosive claims against Derion Vence. She explained that she had previously threatened to break up with Vence. She also claimed he sent her “disturbing” messages while she was traveling.
“He subsequently said some very disturbing things via text messages that the mother needs to share with law enforcement,” Quanell said. “We believe that he’s receiving family help and he’s on the run.”
10. May 13, 2019
Maleah Davis’ mother, Brittany Bowen was called a “murderer” as she left an abruptly cancelled court hearing for Derion Vence. She was met by protesters outside the courtroom who chanted “justice for Maleah” and asked “why isn’t she locked up?” Vence’s hearing was rescheduled for unknown reasons and will now take place on July 10.
11. May 16, 2019
Brittany Bowens sits down for her first interview denying allegations of child abuse taking place saying she was “always home.”
12. May 20, 2019
Derion Vence’s father, Joe, spoke out for the first time about the case. Joe expressed that blame should be shifted from his son to Brittany Bowens. He went on to claim that his son had been set up.
“I just feel they set him up some sort of way. I know he didn’t do anything to her,” Joe Vence said. “He loves her. He’s been taking care of her since she was 1 years old.”
13. May 21, 2019
People begin to criticize Brittany Bowens for not deleting pictures of Derion Vence from her Instagram account despite the suspicion that he could have been involved in her daughter’s disappearance.
14. May 24, 2019
Police believe Maleah Davis is likely dead. In an interview, investigators reveal that their focus has shifted to recovering her body. They would not comment on speculation around Brittany Bowens’ possible involvement in the case.
15. May 30
Quannell X cuts ties with Maleah’s mother and stops representing her over his doubts that she was being completely truthful.
16. May 31
Derion Vence reportedly told activist Quannell X that Maleah was dead and that he dumped her body in Arkansas.
17. May 31
Maleah Davis’ remains are found and recovered in Arkansas.
18. June 3
Officials in Texas determine that the human remains found in Arkansas are that of Maleah Davis.
19. June 4
Derion Vence, Maleah’s stepfather who reportedly confessed to knowing that the four-year-old was dead and where her body was, denied any responsibility in a new interview.
20. June 8
Balloons were released for Maleah Davis in the same Arkansas location where her remains were found.
21. June 9
Houston was set to observe Maleah Davis Day as proclaimed by Mayor Sylvester Turner.
22. June 9
Community members gather for walk for Maleah Davis in downtown Houston.
23. June 9
Thousands participated in Maleah Davis Day in Houston. Marchers wore pink in Maleah’s honor.
24. June 11
Details for Maleah Davis’ funeral are announced.