vmargineanu/iStock(HOUSTON) — As Texas authorities plead for the public’s help in the search for 4-year-old Maleah Davis on Thursday, the man leading the effort is casting doubt on the likelihood of them finding her alive.“The evidence shows that we believe she has been murdered. Let’s bring this baby home, proper burial,” Houston Police Department Chief Art Acevedo said. “Without finding that body, there is a hole left out there. We want to give them the closure, of both charges and finding her body.”Maleah was last seen on April 30 when surveillance footage captured her going into her Houston home with her mother’s ex-fiance, 26-year-old Derion Vence. Additional surveillance footage from a neighbor showed Vence leaving the couple’s apartment on May 3 with his son and a laundry basket.Vence, who was caring for the toddler while her mom was away, told police that she’d been abducted by three men, including one who knocked him out during a carjacking, but Acevedo said he doesn’t believe the story.Police located the family’s car on the side of a road in Missouri City, Texas, and investigators said cadaver-sniffing dogs detected the scent of human remains in the vehicle.“You could drive a big rig right through the tales this guy has been telling,” Acevedo said, referring to Vence. “I can sit here and say we’re going to find her alive, but I’d be lying to you.”Officers arrested Vence earlier this month on suspicion of tampering with a human corpse, according to police. Acevedo said he has not been cooperative throughout the investigation.“We’re hopeful that the public hasn’t forgotten about little miss Davis, this little angel that went missing,” Acevedo said. “We’re still calling for the public to think back on what they may have seen — any suspicious vehicle behavior, anything that they may know [to help] this case.”The child’s mother, 26-year-old Brittany Bowens, said it’s hard to ignore the holes in Vence’s story. She was out of town attending her father’s funeral when the young girl went missing,“I wanted to believe it, I really really wanted to believe that story,” Bowens told ABC’s Houston station KTRK. “The thought of him actually doing something to her, or something worse, something gruesome …”She said she’s holding on for hope that Maleah will be found alive.“As a mother, I want to hope that she is [still alive],” Bowens said. “I didn’t know that after burying my father, I’d have to come home to this.”“I am a good mother. I’m hurting just like everybody else and I want answers too,” she added.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
Samara Heisz/iStockBy MORGAN WINSOR, IVAN PEREIRA and MEREDITH DELISO, ABC News(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now infected more than 59.8 million people and killed over 1.4 million worldwide.Here’s how the news is developing Wednesday. All times Eastern:Nov 25, 5:38 amRussia reports over 500 new deaths for first timeRussia registered a record 507 new fatalities from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, according to the country’s coronavirus response headquarters.It’s the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic that Russia has reported more than 500 deaths from the disease in a single day.Russia also confirmed 23,675 new cases of COVID-19 over the past day. The cumulative total now stands at 2,162,503 confirmed cases, including 37,538 deaths, according to the coronavirus response headquarters.The Eastern European nation of 145 million people has the fifth-highest tally of COVID-19 cases in the world, behind only the United States, India, Brazil and France, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.Despite the growing number of infections and deaths, Russian authorities have repeatedly said they have no plans to impose another nationwide lockdown.Nov 25, 5:10 amRite Aid says it will offer vaccine at no costAmerican drugstore chain Rite Aid said it will offer COVID-19 vaccines at no cost.In an email to customers on Tuesday, Rite Aid chief pharmacy officer Jocelyn Konrad said that through their partnership with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as an official COVID-19 vaccination program provider, “we are staged and ready to make this lifesaving vaccine available in all of the communities we serve when it becomes available to Rite Aid.”“This means you will be able to receive the vaccine from your neighborhood Rite Aid pharmacist, whom you know and trust,” Konrad said. “Better yet, the COVID-19 vaccines will be available at no cost.”Rite Aid customers will be able to schedule an appointment to receive the vaccine once one is approved and becomes available in the United States, according to Konrad.Nov 25, 4:17 amUS reports over 172,000 new casesThere were 172,935 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the United States on Tuesday, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.It’s the 22nd straight day that the country has reported over 100,000 newly diagnosed infections. Tuesday’s count is down from a peak of 196,004 new cases on Nov. 20.An additional 2,146 fatalities from COVID-19 were also registered nationwide on Tuesday, the country’s highest single-day death toll from the disease since May 6 but just under the all-time high of 2,609 new deaths on April 15.A total of 12,597,330 people in the United States have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 259,962 of them have died, according to Johns Hopkins. The cases include people from all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C. and other U.S. territories as well as repatriated citizens.Much of the country was under lockdown by the end of March as the first wave of pandemic hit. By May 20, all U.S. states had begun lifting stay-at-home orders and other restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. The day-to-day increase in the country’s cases then hovered around 20,000 for a couple of weeks before shooting back up and crossing 100,000 for the first time on Nov. 4.Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.