An intensive search was underway Monday in Texas for a missing 4-year-old child who her stepfather says was kidnapped in a bizarre confrontation on a Houston highway.
Maleah Davis has had multiple brain surgeries, including one less than two months ago, and "needs a lot of care," Houston police Sgt. Mark Holbrook said.
A search party organized by family and friends was handing out missing person fliers Monday in nearby Sugar Land. Family friend Maenesha Gatewood told click2houston.com she could empathize with Maleah's family Ė her son briefly went missing several years ago.
ďThe minutes are not like minutes,Ē Gatewood said. ďItís hard and itís stressful and itís crying and itís frustration."
Darion Vence, Maleah's stepfather, told police he was driving to Bush Intercontinental Airport with Maleah and his son on Friday night to pick up Maleah's mother when he thought he had a flat tire, pulled over and got out. He said a truck pulled up behind him and men got out, Holbrook said Sunday.
"One makes a comment saying your daughter looks very nice, looks very sweet," Holbrook said. Vence told authorities another man hit him in the head.
Vence told police he was in and out of consciousness for almost 24 hours while being driven around in the truck with the children. He woke up with his son on the side of a road in Sugar Land on Saturday around 6 p.m. and ultimately walked to a hospital, he said.
Police were called around midnight Saturday and the manhunt began. Holbrook said Vence is not a suspect in Maleah's disappearance.
The family's car, a silver Nissan Altima, was last seen driving through an intersection in Sugar Land at 2:54 p.m. Saturday, Holbrook said. Authorities don't know who was driving, and the car has not been found.
"There are a lot of blanks in the story, but we are hoping the public can fill them in," Holbrook said.
Brenda Bowens told the Houston Chronicle she picked up her stranded daughter at the airport when Vence failed to show up.
"I can't even imagine anybody going through what my family is going through," Bowens said. "It's unbelievable."