Even though Derion Vence was arrested almost two weeks ago in the case of missing preschooler Maleah Davis and charged with tampering with evidence relating to a corpse, Houston police weren't explicitly saying they thought the 4-year-old had been murdered. That all changed Thursday, when Chief Art Acevedo said during a presser that's exactly what investigators believe happened. "The evidence shows that she's been murdered," Acevedo said, per the Houston Chronicle. "I can sit here and say we're going to find her alive, but I'd be lying." A rep for Maleah's mother also said she believed her daughter was dead and that Vence, her ex-fiance, had something to do with it, per NBC News.
Vence, 26, is being held on a $45,000 bond after being charged in the case about a week after Maleah's disappearance, per jail records. Vence's original story—that three Hispanic males had abducted her—quickly unraveled, and Acevedo thinks Vence has more info than he's volunteering. "We strongly believe he knows where she's at, and if he wanted to tell us he would," Acevedo says. On Thursday evening, Acevedo also updated the public on the reward offered for info leading to finding Maleah: It's now up to $15,000. Maleah "deserves to be found. She deserves to be recovered. She deserves to have a proper burial," Acevedo said at the Thursday presser. (Read more Maleah Davis stories.)