It’s been almost two years since 4-year-old Maleah Davis’ heartbreaking death shocked the nation. 

Maleah was left with her stepfather, Derion Vence, while her mother, Brittany Bowens, was away in Massachusetts visiting family. Vence claimed that while going to pick up Bowens from Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport with Maleah and her 1-year-old half-brother, he was attacked by three Hispanic men and was knocked unconscious. He said he regained consciousness almost 24 hours later and found that his son was with him, but Maleah was not. He went to a hospital in Sugar Land, where he reported Maleah missing.

The case took a turn, however, when police found video surveillance of Vence, Maleah, and the 1-year-old boy entering the family’s apartment. Maleah did not come out of the apartment, but Vence was seen on surveillance video carrying a full black trash bag inside a laundry basket out of the apartment. 

Sadly, Maleah’s remains were found a month later on May 31, 2019 in Hope, Arkansas, and Vence was arrested. Community activist Quanell X said that Vence admitted to him that Maleah was dead and he put her body in the trash bag, dumping it in Arkansas.

An autopsy revealed that Maleah was hit in the back of the head with a blunt object and the cause of death was the restriction of the victim’s airway by an unknown object.

Vence was convicted Thursday of tampering with a corpse and causing serious injury to a child. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison. 

Although Vence has been sentenced, how can we say justice has truly been served when Maleah’s own mother is running free? Many say her little girl’s blood is on her hands.

Quanell X was once a loud advocate for Bowens after Maleah was declared missing, but after closer inspection of Bowens’ demeanor, the activist stepped down as her representative.

Just three weeks after Maleah’s disappearance, Quanell X cut ties with Bowens and claimed that “[Bowens] knows the truth. She knows eventually she’s going to have to give an answer for that.”

Quanell X told KHOU 11 that he decided to end ties with Bowens because he felt her story was inconsistent.

Bowens had a different side, however. She said that she was the one to break off the partnership because Quanell X lied about several allegations surrounding Maleah’s treatment at home, including accusations about Vence.

Quanell X released an official statement saying that Bowens admitted that she knew about the abuse in front of her best friend.

In the statement, he noted that Bowens said Vence would bathe Maleah without permission and one time he beat her so severely, he injured her leg.

When the activist asked Bowens what she thought happened to Maleah, Bowens said that Vence probably punched Maleah in the head, an action he had done before. Quanell said he also learned that Bowens was communicating with Vence through his brother, Joe Vence.

To make matters worse, Quanell also felt Bowens played a teary-eyed distraught mother in front of the news cameras, but behind the scenes, she was “calm, fluid, clear.”

Maleah also went through several brain surgeries after she was severely injured in the head, which Bowens claims happened from a fall.

Since the search began for Maleah, Bowens has been under intense scrutiny for not protecting her child.

From the inconsistency in her stories to the past abuse and severe injuries, many feel it is clear that Vence was not the only perpetrator in Maleah’s death. Bowens’ neglect possibly played a role just as large as Vence’s acts. 

We can only hope that Maleah is now at peace, and that true justice for her murder will prevail.