(HOUSTON) — Remains found in Arkansas are confirmed to belong to 4-year-old Maleah Davis, a Houston girl who had been missing for one month, officials with the Harris County Institute of Forensic Scientists said Monday.
The cause and manner of her death are pending.
Community activist Quanell X said Maleah’s mother’s ex-fiance, Derion Vence, confessed to dumping the 4-year-old’s body in Arkansas, ABC Houston station KTRK reported on Friday.
Houston detectives then rushed to Arkansas, where remains were found in a garbage bag on Friday, said police.
The body could not be immediately identified, pending an autopsy.
Maleah, whose disappearance captured the attention of the nation, was reported missing on May 4.
Vence, who was caring for Maleah while her mother was away, had told police the little girl was abducted by three men, including one who knocked him out during a carjacking.
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, however, quickly said detectives didn’t believe his story.
Investigators found the family’s car in Missouri City, Texas, and authorities said cadaver-sniffing dogs detected the scent of human remains inside.
Vence was arrested on May 11 and charged with tampering with evidence, said police.
“We are all saddened by the confirmation of the identification of the remains,” Acevedo said in a statement on Monday. “However, we are heartened by the fact this sweet child can now receive the proper burial she deserved.”
The chief vowed that police and prosecutors will work “to ensure the person(s) responsible for her death, and the attempted cover-up of her death, are held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
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