July trial could reveal how, why 4-year-old Maleah Davis died

Tuesday marked the second anniversary in the disappearance of 4-year-old Maleah Davis in southwest Houston. She was later found dead in Arkansas, and many are still waiting for justice in her case.

Clear answers on how and why Maleah died might not come to light until the trial of Derion Vence, the only man charged in connection with her death. That trial is currently scheduled for July 26.

"As time passes it’s like everybody done [sic] forgot about Maleah," said Tamisha Mendoza, Maleah’s father’s cousin. "Maleah’s case is not closed, and Maleah deserves justice. Her death should not go in vain."


Mendoza told FOX 26, she is frustrated that her little cousin still doesn’t have justice nearly two years after Maleah’s body was found on an Arkansas roadside.

Derion Vence was living with Maleah and engaged to her mom at the time. He now sits in a jail cell, nearly two years after he was arrested for tampering with Maleah’s corpse. He’s also facing the possibility of a life sentence for felony injury to a child.

"Little Maleah—she was God’s angel when she was born, and this is her being held by Jesus, and that’s the way we vision her," said Mendoza, pointing to a picture on her shirt of Maleah with Jesus. "She’s in Jesus’ arms. She’s no longer suffering."

The last place Maleah was seen alive was on surveillance camera, running into her apartment with Vence. Police say they recovered blood evidence from the apartment.

A new family lives there now.

"It’s torture because to bring my daughter, how will I feel?" said Aishat Adegoke who moved into Maleah’s apartment in 2019, shortly after Maleah’s family moved out following her death. "I never knew this is where it happened until I moved in."


The new renter of Maleah’s apartment says she’s also praying for answers and justice.

"For her spirit to be in peace, it should have been solved, and the mother should know what is going on with the case. But for it not still been solved now, I’m disappointed about that," said Adegoke.

The man who created the teddy bear memorial for Maleah is now using those bears to bring comfort to other families who’ve suffered childhood tragedies.

"Moving forward, kids that was affected by different type of situations like this, all of those bears became gifts from Maleah, so all those bears are basically gifts from Maleah to those other kids now," said Joseph "Capo" Dinnon, a community activist.

FOX 26 reached out to Maleah’s parents for comment but did not hear back.

Harris County prosecutors declined to comment on the case, saying they don’t want to taint the jury pool by commenting on a pending trial.