“We really believe we have a little girl that has been murdered,” police Chief Art Acevedo told reporters on Thursday. “We believe she’s out there somewhere and we want to bring her home.
“I can sit here and say we’re going to find her alive, but I’d be lying to you.”
Acevedo said suspect Derion Vence, who was caring for Maleah while her mother was out of town, has not been cooperative with investigators.
Vence was arrested earlier this month and booked into Harris County jail on suspicion of tampering with a human corpse, according to police. Court documents indicate a “substantial likelihood” Vence will be charged with murder.
Acevedo said that the reward in the case has increased to $10,000.
He urged people to be on the lookout for anything that is of the ordinary, especially in areas near bayous, hiking trails, wooded areas and places that may not be heavily traveled.