The case of deceased Houston girl Maleah Davis has taken yet another turn after an inmate at the Harris County Jail claims he first alerted authorities to the missing 4-year-old’s whereabouts nearly a week before her remains were found in Arkansas, ABC 13 reports.
David Chalfant, who’s awaiting transfer to prison on an armed robbery conviction, remains housed on the same protective custody floor as Derion Vence, the man charged in connection with Davis’ disappearance.
In an exclusive interview with the station, Chalfant said Vence, 27, not only told him where the young girl’s remains were located but offered details on how she died. The inmate said initially, Vence told him Maleah passed away in her sleep from the flu, but Chalfant was skeptical.
“I told him, ‘Nobody’s going to believe that,’” he said. “There are pictures of her walking behind you. She wasn’t sick.’”
When grilled about why he hid the body, Chalfant said Vence told him he panicked “because of the time she had fractured her skull before.” Family members said Davis had recently undergone brain surgery to treat a prior head injury.
Chalfant said the suspect, who remains jailed on a tampering with evidence charged, then confessed to him how the young girl died.
“He said she was sitting on his lap and he tossed her off and she hit her head,” he told the station.
Chlafant said he then relayed the information in a handwritten note to Houston detectives but hasn’t heard anything since. Days later, community activist Quanell X was credited with gleaning the confession from Vence that led authorities to locate Maleah’s remains in a trash bag along an Arkansas freeway.
At a press conference last month, Quanell told reporters Vence confessed to him that Davis was deceased and that her death was an “accident.” When hiding her remains, Quanell said the suspect told him “he pulled over in Arkansas, got out of the car, walked off the side of the road, and dumped her body off the side of the road.”
Now, Chalfant is questioning why police waited to act when he had already provided them the information they needed to find Maleah. He told ABC 13 he believes Quanell X was brought in to prevent him from qualifying for the reward money offered for finding the little girl, a sum that soared to $27,500 by the time Davis’ remains were found.
The station reported that Chalfant grew “visibly emotional” after learning that the trash bag young girl’s body had been plowed over by a highway work crew, scattering much of the evidence.
“Do you mean they may not have a cause of death?,” Chalfant asked. “Does that mean he won’t be charged with murder?”
Chalfant admits he planned to keep a portion of the reward money, but would return the rest to donors who pledged to help find the missing girl.
Maleah, 4, was reported missing May 4 after Vence, her mother’s ex-fiancé, claims she was kidnapped during an alleged carjacking the night before. Vence told police that he, his 1-year-old son and Maleah were ambushed by three Latino men, during which he was knocked unconscious.
The man claimed he awoke to find his son safe and sound, but said both his car and Maleah were gone.
Police later named Vence as a suspect after they say they found traces of blood matching DNA from Davis’ toothbrush in the family’s Houston-area apartment. He remains jailed on a charge of tampering with evidence, namely a corpse.
Watch more in the video below.