Maliyah Bass: Texas toddler's death ruled homicide 3 months after mom, her boyfriend dumped body in storm drain
Sahara Ervin and Travion Thompson have both been charged with tampering with evidence and injury to a child
HOUSTON, TEXAS: On Friday, November 20, medical examiners ruled two-year-old Maliyah Bass' death a homicide. This came three months after the Houston girl's body was found in Brays Bayou, and more than a month after Houston police arrested the girl's mother and her boyfriend as suspects in the case. As per court records, the autopsy showed Maliyah had a broken left forearm and extensive superficial blunt force trauma. Reportedly, the medical examiners believe that she was beaten with either an extension cord-like object or a hanger-like object.
Sahara Ervin and Travion Thompson have both been charged with tampering with evidence and injury to a child. According to news reports, following the medical examiners’ ruling, Ervin and Thompson's charges have not been upgraded. "It doesn't change anything. It just strengthens their case," former prosecutor with the Harris County District Attorney's Office Brent Mayr told the press. "Both of those (charges) are first-degree felony offenses, the same degree felony as murder. Murder requires a prosecutor to prove they intended to cause the child's death, so rather than make it more difficult for them, they charge injury to a child. They will still be facing up to life in prison whether it's a murder charge or injury to a child."
On August 22, Ervin had told police that Maliyah went missing while playing in the courtyard outside an apartment complex in Houston. She said she left the toddler alone at the playground outside of their apartment for a couple of minutes while she cooked breakfast. Her body was found the next day in Brays Bayou. As per court documents, Thompson allegedly told police that Evrin beat Maliyah with a hairbrush on August 20 because she was crying and would not go to sleep. He said that they then put her in a broom closet, naked. When they woke up on August 21, Maliyah was dead.
Thompson confessed to the police that they disposed of her body in a storm drain at their apartment complex on August 22. Investigators have said that they recovered surveillance video showing Thompson carrying a trash can. Court records also reportedly indicate that Thompson is accused of not protecting the girl from her mother. He is also accused of failing to provide reasonable medical care after Maliyah was injured. "Given the level of violence and abuse in the household against Sahara and her daughter, it is not surprising that the medical examiner has ruled this a murder," Ervin's attorney, Angela Weltin said. "The death of Sahara's only child continues to be painfully heartbreaking."
Thompson’s mother, Angel Harris, earlier said that the two belong in prison if they killed Maliyah, who she loved like a granddaughter. “I’m mad because I want to hurt both of them because I feel violated. I feel sad. I feel betrayed,” Harris said, adding, “A part of me wanted to believe that somebody had took my baby off that playground. Now, I’m finding out that all along it was a story, an act.”
Both remain in jail, with Ervin's bond at $175,000. Thompson was denied bond because he was on probation for a prior felony, according to court records. Ervin is due in court on December 16. Thompson's next appearance is scheduled for December 17.