Detectives with the Houston Police Department are relying nearly entirely on information provided by the girl's stepfather, Darion Vence, who says he was ambushed by the men while driving to the airport Friday night with Maleah and his 2-year-old son.
One of the men reportedly made a comment that 'Maleah looks very nice, looks very sweet, ' before the second man knocked Vence over the head, Sgt Mark Holbrook of the Houston Police Department's Homicide Division said during a press conference.
Investigators are searching for the 2010 blue Chevrolet crew cab pickup truck the alleged abductors were said to have been driving and the family's stolen vehicle, a silver 2011 Nissan Altima.
When Vence initially woke up, he says that he and the two children were in the back of the pickup, which now carried three Hispanic men. His daughter was gone. He said Maleah was missing but his son was still there.
An Amber Alert has been issued for Maleah. "According to Darion, what happens next is a blue pickup truck pulls up behind him, two Hispanic males get out.
Investigators have been interviewing family members throughout the morning", Houston police said in a statement.
She has had several brain surgeries and was ill last week, Holbrook said.
Police said they were able to look at the license plate of the vehicle that Vence was driving, which belonged to Maleah's mother.
He said detectives hope the public can help them "fill in the blanks". The other male hits Darion in the head.
"She's needed a lot of care", the police sergeant said. Maleah's biological father, who also lives in the Houston area, has been contacted by authorities and is being cooperative, Holbrook said.
Authorities issued an Amber alert that included a description of the outfit Maleah was wearing when she disappeared: a pink bow in her hair, a light-blue zip jacket, blue jeans and sneakers that are gray, white and pink.
The National Center for Missing Exploited Children described Maleah as African-American with black hair, and brown eyes. She is approximately 3-feet tall and weighs 30-40 pounds.
A traffic camera captured an image of the Altima driving through an intersection in the Houston suburb of Sugar Land just before 3 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.
Anyone with information on the case is urged to call police at 713.308.3600 or Houston Crime Stoppers at 713.222.8477.
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