A 4-year-old girl missing in Texas was temporarily removed from her home by state authorities last year after allegations of child abuse, CNN is reporting.
Maleah Davis and her two brothers were removed from their home last August after she suffered a head injury, according to the news organization. There also were allegations of child abuse and the little girl and her siblings were placed with a relative, CNN reports.
CNN is basing its report on information from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. An AMBER Alert was issued for Maleah on Sunday.
On Sunday, one day after the girl’s disappearance, Houston Police Sgt. Mark Holbrook told reporters that had undergone multiple brain surgeries, one as recently as a few months ago, in order to help an injury heal.
“She needed a lot of care,” Holbrook said at the time.
The little girl’s stepfather, Darion Vence, told police that Maleah and his own 1-year-old son were abducted by three Latino males who knocked him unconscious. Vence said that when he regained consciousness 24 hours later, he was on the side of the road with his son and Maleah was gone, CNN reports.
Vence said the incident took place as he and the two children traveled to the airport to pick up Maleah’s mother, who was returning from Massachusetts.
During the drive, Vence said, he heard a popping sound, feared he’d blown a tire and pulled over to check. A blue pickup truck then pulled up behind him and two Latino males got out, one of them commenting that Maleah looked “very nice” and “very sweet,” according to what Vence told authorities.
The other man hit Vence in the head, he said.
Vence told police he lost consciousness and when he woke up, he was in the back of the pickup truck with the two children, and three Latino men also were in the truck. He said he was in and out of consciousness until waking up with his son on the side of a highway.
He walked to a hospital and reported the little girl missing, he said.
Holbrook told reporters that Vence’s story has “a lot of blanks” and he is hoping the public can help.
Maleah’s mother, Brittany Bowens, told Houston CNN affiliate KTRK that the potential loss of her little girl is “too much to bear.”