US

Artist Celebrates Life of Maleah Davis With Bronze Sculpture

By Victor Westerkamp

Maleah Davis’s death has been ruled a homicide by the coroner, but there are still many questions about what exactly happened to the 4-year-old girl from Houston, Texas, who went missing in April, and whose remains were uncovered alongside a road in Fulton, Arkansas, on May 31.

What is certain is that the murder case left a huge emotional impact on the city of Houston. One local artist was recently able to find a way to express her grief.

“It’s just something that was in my soul. I cried a lot when I heard this story,” sculptor Shirley Scarpetta said, according to ABC13. “It’s our duty as parents to help protect our children, and the way that she died was just so horrific. Somebody needed to stand up for her.”

Shirley said felt the urge to sculpt the 4-year-old, and she felt she had a connection to Maleah. After a private funder agreed to commission the artwork, Scarpetta got to work and finished the sculpture in one day.

“It’s for all of us,” she told Fox5. “Our children are so vulnerable, and people need to be reminded to leave a legacy of kindness and loving one another.”

The work of art still needs to be cast in bronze. Someone is also providing a granite base for the sculpture, she said. The artist is also seeking permission to have it displayed in the public somewhere in Houston, Fox5 reported.

“In order for her to never be forgotten, for her to be a memorial for others to remind them, let’s take care of our future, our babies,” Shirley told ABC13.

This is not the only artistic contribution to Maleah’s farewell; SoulShine Industries created and donated a special coffin in her honor with a lot of pink, rainbows, and “My Little Pony” characters.

Stepfather of Missing 4-Year-Old Maleah Davis Arrested

The man who claimed that Maleah had been abducted from him was arrested near Houston on May 11, and police say they found blood in his apartment linked to the girl.

Derion Vence was arrested without incident at his brother’s home in Sugar Land, Texas, about 22 miles southwest of Houston, a statement from Houston police said. He was charged with tampering with evidence.

Vence told police that men in a pickup truck abducted him, Maleah Davis, and his 2-year-old son before freeing him and the boy. But Sugar Land police, who initially interviewed him, said his story kept changing and didn’t add up.

Later, Vence told a community activist that he accidentally killed Maleah, and her body was in Arkansas, where it was later located by authorities. She was buried in Houston at a private service.

Maleah’s mother, Brittany Bowens, said Vence is her former fiance. Police have described Vence as Maleah’s stepfather.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.