The car connected to the case of missing 4-year-old Maleah Davis was discovered on Thursday morning in a parking lot in Missouri City, Texas, by a taxi driver.
The Nissan Altima was originally reported stolen by Maleah’s stepfather, Darion Vence, who said he was knocked out by two Latinos, who ended up taking Maleah, KHOU reports.
It has now been a week since Maleah disappeared. The search for the little girl has since moved to the same area where the car was discovered near Highway 6 and Murphy Road.
Police say that there is nothing unusual about the car, although crime scene investigators will be taking a closer look.
“The car looks fine. Everything looks normal on the car. The tires look OK,” HPD Homicide Detective Kenneth Fregia told the news station. “It doesn’t mean they weren’t changed at some point, I don’t know.”
The trunk of the vehicle also looked to be in normal shape.
Maleah’s mother, Brittany Bowens, arrived at the scene of the discovery on Thursday morning, where she reportedly shouted, “Where’s Maleah?” before collapsing to the ground.
Police are also still looking into clues about the alleged kidnappers’ blue pickup truck.
As for Vence, Fregia said that he has since changed his story about Maleah’s disappearance several times. More recently, authorities have been trying to get into contact with him, but he has not responded to their calls.
“Each time we have tried to talk to him or have him come in, we have been unsuccessful,” Fregia said.
Vence initially told investigators that he was approached by two Latinos when he stopped his car on Friday night near Highway 59 and Greens Road to check on his tires after hearing a “popping” sound.
Vence said that one of the men commented that Maleah looked “very sweet,” before he was struck over the head and rendered unconscious. When he came to, he was with three Latinos in the still-missing pickup truck. He drifted in and out of consciousness before finally waking up on Saturday evening with only his 1-year-old son present. Maleah was gone.
According to the Associated Press, Fregia said that he currently wasn’t concerned about Vence’s whereabouts.
Maleah and her brothers were removed from the home where they lived with Vence and Bowens in August after she suffered a head injury that led to the little girl needing multiple brain surgeries.
They were returned to the home back in February, but were still in state custody and a caseworker checked in on them every month.
As KCENTV reports, her head injury was explained as being the result of falling off a chair. However, doctors said that the story didn’t add up and suspected abuse. Court records show that Maleah was only taken to the hospital at the behest of her grandmother, Brenda Bowens, who was living in the same home as Bowens and Vence.
A court order was recently issued banning Bowens and Vence from contact with the other children, the news station notes.
Maleah’s younger half-brother is in the custody of his paternal grandmother, while her older brother is in the custody of his paternal aunt.
According to the report, Brenda Bowens and the Department of Family and Protective Services initiated the court order that prompted the removal of all the kids from Vence and Bowen’s home. Brenda Bowens did not receive custody of any of the kids, but she will be allowed to visit them.