HOUSTON, TX – Three months after 2-year-old Maliyah Bass was found deceased in Brays Bayou, officials have announced that the medical examiner working the case has ruled Maliyah’s death a homicide.
While the victim’s mother and her boyfriend have been arrested for charges related to tampering with evidence and injury to a child already, charges have yet to be upgraded on the two.
— ABC13 Houston (@abc13houston) November 21, 2020
Here’s the details on the new developments.
Back in October, 21-year-olds Sahara Ervin and Travion Thompson were arrested and charged with tampering with evidence and injury to a child/serious bodily injury.
With the recent ruling by the ME noting that Maliyah’s death was a homicide, one might wonder why charges haven’t been since immediately upgraded.
However, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office said that evidence attributed to such is still being investigated.
— Mycah Hatfield (@MycahABC13) November 20, 2020
Yet Brent Mayr, a former prosecutor with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, says that whether the charges against the two suspects remain the same or get upgraded to murder – the amount of time they’d potentially face in prison wouldn’t really change.
In fact, Mayr says it might be in the DA’s best interest to not upgrade to charges of murder:
“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.”
Angela Weltin, Ervin’s attorney on the case, took the news of Maliyah’s death being cited as a homicide as something “not surprising”.
Weltin seems to take the revelation as something to help her client’s defense by alleging abuse from the second defendant, Thompson:
“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. The death of Sahara’s only child continues to be painfully heartbreaking.”
Tyrone Moncriffe, the defense attorney for Thompson, was less outspoken on the matter, only offering the following comment:
“Mr. Thompson is still cloaked in the presumption of innocence because of our great constitution. We are still investigating.”
Ervin is currently being held in custody, with her bail set at $175,000. Thompson, on the other hand, was denied bond due to having been on probation during the alleged committing of the crime.
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We at Law Enforcement Today previously reported on when the couple were first taken into custody regarding the child’s now-deemed murder.
Here’s that previous report.
HOUSTON, TX – Prosecutors allege that they have possession of a video which shows a man, who has been arrested, dumping what could be the remains of a child into a storm drain before the 2-year-old’s body was found in a Bayou.
Houston police say there’s a high probability body found in Brays Bayou is two-year-old Maliyah Bass. They say they did everything in their power to search for her. Chief @ArtAcevedo says he believes foul play was involved. #KHOU11 pic.twitter.com/qm2cXrfqBb
— Matt Dougherty (@MattKHOU) August 23, 2020
Travion Thompson, the boyfriend of the young girl’s mother, Sahara Ervin, was allegedly captured on video surveillance dumping what police believe was the remains of Maliyah Bass.
Both have been arrested for and charged with, for now, tampering with evidence and injury to a child in the death of Maliyah Bass.
ARRESTED: Sahara Ervin, 20, and Travion Thompson, 21, are in custody and charged with injury to a child & tampering with evidence for their roles in the August killing of Ervin's baby daughter, Maliyah Bass, 2.
— Houston Police (@houstonpolice) October 6, 2020
Thompson initially was seeking bond, which was denied, in the case until prosecutors allegedly found the video showing him dumping what they believe to be Maliyah’s body into a storm drain. They allege that the video shows Thompson tipping a bin into the storm drain which drains into the Brays Bayou.
Ervin was granted a bond in the case, $75,000, on the tampering charge and a $100,000 bond on the injury to a child case. Initially the pair had attempted to say that Maliyah had been abducted.
In August, the pair had reported that Maliyah had been abducted from the couple’s southwest Houston apartment complex. They claimed that they had last seen her before 10am in the 1600 block of Beechnut Street.
Ervin claimed that she had briefly gone inside her apartment while she allowed Maliyah to play outside for a few moments unsupervised. When she returned outside, Maliyah was gone. A friend of Ervin, Jasmine Freeman, said:
“She’s just mentally not functioning right now. She said everything happened within a blink of an eye. She was right here at the park and then she was gone.”
Police scrambled, as is normal in these types of cases, to find the young child. They called in additional resources, like Texas Equusearch, who joined in trying to find her. Texas Equusearch Coordinator Coy Murphy said:
“We’ve had foot searchers on the ground. We’ve had ATVs searching, as well, and we’ve cleared a lot of areas. We haven’t found anything just yet.”
Police issued an Amber alert in the case, hoping that would lead to the recovery of Maliyah safely. Sadly, the Amber alert was cancelled after her body was recovered in the bayou. Police worked diligently and seemingly discovered that the couple was not innocent in the young child’s death.
Maliyah’s body was found by a jogger in the Bayou approximately 25 miles away from where Ervin had claimed that the young girl had been kidnapped. At the time of the discovery of the body, Houston Police Chief Art Avevedo said:
“We believe that, although we can’t confirm it’s her, we believe there’s a high probability of it being her. We don’t want to give people false hope. We want to hold onto a little hope, but we want to prepare for the worst.”
Thompson, who did his best at making it appear as if he actually cared for the child, said:
“The community did better than the police did and my baby could’ve been anywhere at any time…That’s my baby. She knows her ABCs. She knows her 123s. She knew how to talk because of me and her mother. She was smart, she was growing up to be something.”
In early October, the Ervin and Thompson were both arrested for injury to a child and tampering with evidence. Houston Police allege that they suspected their involvement from the beginning of the investigation. Maliyah’s father, Octavious Bass said:
“I want to know what actually happened to her [Maliyah] and I’m glad they [police] found out about them.”
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