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Search for Missing Girl Shifts to Haunted House

Searchers say they had tip from Houston police
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 15, 2019 5:06 AM CDT
Updated May 15, 2019 6:21 AM CDT
This photo provided by the Houston Police Dept. shows Derion Vence.   (Houston Police Dept. via AP)
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(Newser) – The search for missing Houston 4-year-old Maleah Davis has shifted to a haunted house attraction south of the city. Members of the Texas EquuSearch search and rescue organization said teams searched the area near Creepy Hollow in Rosharon, KTRK reports. Tim Miller of EquuSearch tells KHOU that the organization received a tip from the Houston Police Department to check the area for Maleah, who was reported missing by her mother's ex-fiance on May 4. Derion Vence claimed the little girl had been abducted by three Hispanic males who knocked him unconscious, but police said his story didn't add up.

Vence was arrested Saturday and charged with tampering with evidence relating to a corpse, though authorities haven't said whether they believe Maleah is dead or alive. Houston police say they found blood in Vence's apartment and the DNA matched that found on Maleah's toothbrush, CNN reports. According to court documents, signs of decomposition were found in his vehicle, and surveillance footage from May 3 shows him leaving the apartment complex with something heavy in a trash bag and returning with bleach and other cleaning supplies. CBS reports that Maleah and her two brothers were removed from the home in August after Maleah suffered a head injury, but they were returned in February after a court was unable to determine whether the injury was the result of abuse. (Police say this Illinois couple reported their 5-year-old son missing days after causing his death.)

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