'You didn't protect her:' Protesters gather again as family seeks new home for Maleah Davis' siblings

Thursday, May 23, 2019
Protesters demanding more answers in Maleah Davis' disappearance
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Protesters demanding more answers in Maleah Davis' disappearance

HOUSTON, Texas -- Family members of 4-year-old Maleah Davis, who has been missing now for 22 days, are trying to find Maleah's siblings a new home after her mother's ex-fiance Darion Vence was arrested and charged in her disappearance.

Wednesday morning, Maleah's family appeared for a CPS hearing in downtown Houston. They and attorneys have been ordered not to talk about the case.

Her mother, Brittany Bowens, was inside the courthouse as protesters gathered there a second time.

Earlier this month, crowds accused Bowens of not doing enough to protect her daughter after Bowens levied allegations against Vence that he had abused and molested Maleah.

"As a mother, you're supposed to protect your kids, and me sending this message to her, you didn't protect Maleah. You didn't protect her. And mothers have to stand up and protect their kids," Parents Against Predators' Sonia Parker told ABC13 Wednesday.

READ MORE: 'Justice for Maleah!' Protesters accuse missing girl's mom of not doing enough to protect her

Maleah was last seen alive on April 30. A surveillance camera captured an image of her following Vence into her family's apartment. But she never came back out.

He was later seen on video with a laundry basket and a bag inside.

Vence told police earlier this month that he was attacked and Maleah was abducted.

Last year, CPS removed Maleah and her two siblings from their home after she suffered a severe head injury. Her family claims she hit her head on a table.

Less than three months before her disappearance, she was returned home.

"When every adult fails the child, that's when the system steps in. You mean to tell me it's OK for the system to fail them, too?" said Juan Cortez, also with Parents Against Predators.

Vence is charged with tampering with evidence related to a corpse. He is in jail on a $45,000 bond.

Police do not believe Maleah is alive.

Despite admitting that his son's story sounded far-fetched, Joe Vence Sr. believes his son did not harm Maleah.

"He loved those kids too much. He didn't have nothing to do with the disappearance. I believe his story," Joe said in an interview with the IckedMel YouTube channel.

Joe said that his son was the most responsible adult in Maleah and her two brothers' lives, doing all the daycare drop-offs, most of the pick-ups, helping them with developmental delays and raising Maleah like his own.

He also claims the allegations made by Bowens are false.

"Why would you leave your child at home with him if he's doing all of these things?" Joe said.

Bowens sat down with ABC13 for a one-on-one interview, explaining why she left Maleah in Vence's care.

"Because I trusted him. I didn't know that after burying my father, I was going to have to come home to this," she said.

WATCH: Maleah Davis' mother: 'I want to hope that she is (still alive)'

Vence's father insists Bowens is the one who should be scrutinized.

"I really believe either she has something to do with it, like he's been set up in some type of way. I know he didn't do anything to her because he loves her. He's been taking care of her since she was, like, 1 year old," Joe said.

Protesters say they plan to be at every hearing and court appearance.

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