Maliyah Bass' mother sentenced to 20 years for role in death of her 2-year-old found dead in bayou

Sahara Ervin's attorney shared disturbing details with ABC13 about what the mother says Maliyah endured before she died in 2020.

Friday, March 1, 2024
Mom of 2-year-old found dead in bayou in 2020 sentenced to 20 years
Sahara Ervin has been sentenced to 20 years for her role in the death of Houston toddler Maliyah Bass, who was found dead in Brays Bayou in 2020.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The 24-year-old mother of Maliyah Bass learned her fate after pleading guilty to her role in her 2-year-old daughter's death over three years ago.

Sahara Ervin appeared in court Thursday morning to hear her sentence, telling the judge she "wished it was different" and "wished she could have her baby back." She agreed with Judge Morton that what she did was horrendous.

"As a mother myself, I would like to hope that she does actually feel the remorse that she told the judge," Lacy Johnson with the Harris County District Attorney's Office said. "I hope that in the three and a half years that she's had time to sit in jail and reflect."

On Wednesday, Ervin's boyfriend, Travion Thompson, was sentenced to double her sentence - 40 years - for his role after taking a plea deal. Prosecutors said Thompson confessing to dumping Maliyah's body down a storm drain is what "sealed his fate."

RELATED: Houston 2-year-old's death officially ruled a homicide

On Aug. 22, 2020, an Amber Alert was issued for the missing 2-year-old.

Ervin and Thompson told police they left the little girl at a playground outside their southwest Houston apartment while they were inside cooking breakfast. They claimed that when they returned, Maliyah was gone.

Days later, her body was spotted in Brays Bayou by a jogger.

ABC13 has been following the case of Maliyah Bass since that tragic discovery.


When Maliyah's body was found, Ervin and Thompson acted inconsolable, even talking to ABC13 on camera, denying any involvement in Maliyah's death. Nearly two months later, they were arrested and charged.

Sahara Ervin and Travion Thompson are in custody and charged with injury to a child & tampering with evidence in the death of Ervin's daughter, Maliyah Bass

Court records state Maliyah had a broken arm and was severely beaten with something like an extension cord or clothes hanger. The medical examiner ruled her cause of death as "homicidal violence."

"Maliyah was young and trying to learn potty training, and Travion expected a lot more from her," Angela Weltin, Ervin's attorney, said her client told her. "When she woke up too early and didn't go to bed, he hit her, and he started with his hands, and he moved on to a belt, and he moved on to the strap of a purse, and then he moved on to a metal rod. All that happened during the course of the day at different times."

Weltin said Ervin admitted that Maliyah was left alone in a cold room overnight, crying without a blanket or clothes, and when they woke up the next day, she was dead.

"I don't think that there's a question about who ultimately was responsible for what," Weltin said. "They were both responsible in that she is no longer with us, and I think the sentence is in accordance with that."

Ervin was initially going to testify against her boyfriend as part of her plea deal. But when he accepted his deal on Wednesday, that didn't happen.

"I would never put a witness on the stand if I thought they were going to lie," Johnson said. "We were prepared to put Ms. Ervin on the stand."

Maliyah's maternal grandmother, Rosalie Jimerson, was in court Wednesday morning and became emotional when Thompson's sentence was given. She told ABC13 that justice was served after Thompson was sentenced.

"She owed her daughter a duty of protection," Johnson said. "She owed her daughter a duty of protection specifically from Travion Thompson, and she didn't do that. And then she participated in the plan to dump the body down the storm drain, and so for that, she had to be held accountable."

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