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A 4-year-old girl is missing in Texas after her stepfather says a group of strangers knocked him unconscious and took her. Now, search parties are forming to look for the missing child and an Amber Alert has been issued.
Darion Vence says that his stepdaughter, Maleah Davis, was taken by three unknown males in north Houston on Friday night.
Vence and Davis were riding in a car with Maleah's 2-year-old brother. The three had been driving to pick up the children's mother from the George Bush Intercontinental Airport when what they thought might have been a popped tire caused them to pull off to the side. They were then approached by three unknown men, described as Hispanic, in what is believed to be a blue 2010 Chevrolet pickup truck.
Detective Mark Holbrook explained what he believed happened next at a press conference on May 4.
"One of them makes a comment saying that Maleah looks very nice, looks very sweet," said Holbrook, according to ABC13 of Houston, Texas.
That's when one of the men allegedly struck Vence on the skull with a hard object from behind. Vence then lost consciousness.
Vence vaguely recalled being in the back of the truck with his children while drifting in and out of consciousness, but he didn't fully regain consciousness until Saturday at around 6 p.m., when he came to on the side of the road with his 2-year-old. Maleah was gone.
He wandered the highway with his 2-year-old looking for help, but found none. Vence and his son then walked to the Houston Methodist hospital in Sugar Land, where they arrived at 11 p.m., according to CNN.
Maleah's mother, who had just arrived back in Houston after her father's funeral, made her way home from the airport, thinking Vence was just a no-show, unaware of what had just happened to him and her kids, according to the Houston Chronicle. The family reported Maleah missing on Saturday morning.
The 2-year-old child was unharmed during the incident.
The family's car, a silver Nissan Altima, which is now also missing, was spotted by a traffic camera driving through an intersection in Sugar Land at 2:54 p.m. on Saturday.
Holbrook is now hoping tips from the public can help lead to Maleah's safe recovery. He's also looking for anyone who may have seen Vence in the hours during which he can not account for his whereabouts.
“I realize there’s a lot of blanks in the story. ... We're hoping the public can give us any information about anybody who has seen Darion during that period of time because he doesn't really know where he was or what's going on there," said Holbrook.
Police have communicated with Maleah's parents, including her biological father, who are all cooperating with the investigation.
A motive for the alleged abduction remains unclear.
Dominique Bryant, a friend of Maleah's mother who is helping pass out information about the missing child, commented on the incident.
"The world doesn't stop for your child, unfortunately. So you have to get out there, get their face out there, because people don't know. A lot of people we were passing out the fliers were like, 'Oh, we haven't heard of it. We heard the Amber Alert, but it didn't have any information," Bryant told ABC13.
Amber Fannin, another family friend helping with the search, pleaded with Maleah's alleged captors.
“She’s a spunky little thing, you know, and she’s beautiful. She has a beautiful energy and we just want to find her at this point,” Fannin told Click2Houston. “If you have her, just please drop her off somewhere safe. If you want to keep the car or keep whatever you found, that’s alright, but we just want her back safe and sound.”
Maleah's family is worried about the child's safety, as she just had several brain surgeries and requires extra attention.
"She needs a lot of care and she was sick this week, too," Holbrook said.
Maleah is described as a African-American female with black hair and brown eyes. She stands 3 feet tall and weighs 30 to 40 pounds. She was last seen wearing a pink bow in her hair, a light blue zip jacket, blue jeans and gray, white and pink sneakers.
The Houston Police Department have released photos of Maleah and the blue truck on Twitter, hoping the public can help track the vehicle and the child down.
Anyone with information on Maleah Davis is urged to contact HPD at 713-308-3600 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.
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