HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Protesters gathered outside Child Protective Services calling for justice for Maleah. The 4-year-old has been missing for more than two weeks.
Members of the group Parents Against Predators are rallying to shed light on CPS, a system they say failed to protect the missing girl.
"Kids’ lives matter and that’s why we’re here,” says Parents Against Predators member Linda Sanchez.
Waving signs in support of Maleah, the members were speaking out against Child Protective Services.
"We’re here today to try to speak for Maleah, since she is not able to speak for herself. CPS is not going to speak for her. They can’t find her, thanks to CPS,” adds Sanchez.
The group is holding CPS partly to blame for Maleah’s disappearance, because before Maleah went missing, criminal court records show CPS opened an investigation into the family after Maleah suffered a traumatic brain injury.
"Why would you send her back into the home after brain surgery?” asks Sonia Parker, the founder of Parents Against Predators.
Maleah’s mom’s ex-fiance, Derion Vence, has been charged in connection with the girl’s disappearance after she’s seen on video going into the apartment with him, but investigators point out she never walks out. There is video of Vence coming out carrying a trash bag inside a laundry basket.
Protestors also want others held accountable, they say perhaps even some CPS workers.
"Justice to me is finding out who’s at fault and making them accept responsibility and whether it be criminal charges or whether it be them losing their position,” says Rickie Bradford with Parents Against Predators.
"I have so many mothers, parents, fathers calling me from all over the world hurting because of Maleah. Everybody wants to know where she is,” explains Parker, who founded Parents Against Predators after she says she survived being sexually assaulted as a child.
"I know it’s a small group that you see here, but at least we care more than the giant group in there,” says Sanchez as she gestures toward the CPS building.
Texas Equusearch volunteers were out Monday trying to identify new places to search for Maleah.
CPS points out there is a gag order regarding Maleah’s case and says, therefore, the agency has no comment.