This is the moment a mother was seen wailing on the floor as her toddler’s body was found – but now she has been charged over the little girl’s death.
Sahara Ervin, 20, and her boyfriend Travion Thompson, 21, have both been charged for their roles in the death of Maliyah ‘Tootie’ Bass, 2, reports The Sun.
Both were charged with injury to a child and tampering with evidence after the girl’s body was found in a bayou near Houston, Texas.
Maliyah was found dead on August 23 and Ervin and Thompson were both filmed by local news appearing to be in distress.
Ervin can be seen laying the ground as she appears to wail and sob over her daughter’s death.
Thompson meanwhile told reporters he “felt like a father” to the girl, and claimed she had been upset because he had broken her toy box, reports Houston Chronicle.
He appeared to try and blame a “human trafficking operation” operating out of their apartment complex.
Police allege however at this time both of them knew the girl was dead.
Court records reveal that Thompson claimed Ervin beat the toddler with a hair brush when she would not stop crying and couldn’t sleep, reports ABC13.
Doctors claim the girl was then left naked in a broom closet and the couple woke the next morning to find she had died on August 21.
He allegedly told police they disposed of the girl’s body in a storm drain on August 22.
The autopsy showed Maliyah had a broken left arm and extensive superficial blunt force trauma.
Medics believe the two-year-old was beaten with objects that could have been an extension cord and a hanger.
Houston Police announced the arrest yesterday after the investigation began when Ervin reported her daughter missing on August 22.
An amber alert was issued as the mum told police she left the toddler alone on a playground for a few minutes as she cooked breakfast.
Travion’s mum Angel Harris was furious with her son, saying she loved the little girl like her own granddaughter.
She told Click2Houston: “I’m mad because I want to hurt both of them because I feel violated. I feel sad. I feel betrayed.”
‘ALL AN ACT’
“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.”
Residents joined in the searches around the block on Wilcrest, southwest Houston, and were now pleased to hear of the arrests.
Stella, a neighbour, said: “That little girl didn’t deserve this. She was a sweetheart. They were supposed to be her protectors.”
She added: “Everyone looking stupid and looking for the baby when they knew what happened to the baby.”
Victim advocate Andy Kahan of Crime Stoppers of Houston said the couple acted strangely at the time of the disappearance.
He said: “I remember mum was asking me about any victim compensation. I just thought that was a little bit odd.
“That’s the last thing you’re concerned about is anything you’re entitled to”
Kahan added: “This should have never, ever happened. Her death was a tragedy but so utterly preventable because the system failed her miserably.”
Back in August, Maliyah’s grandma Rosalie Jimerson said: “She loved baby shark. She loved pink. She loved Minnie Mouse.
“She was just my everything. I hate that she’s gone but I want justice for Maliyah.”
Chief Art Acevedo had said it was unlikely the child could have fallen into the bayou near her home and floated to where she was found.
Ervin has no known criminal history in Harris County, but at the time of the Maliyah’s disappearance Thompson was on deferred adjudication for aggravated robbery.
He has had five convictions since 2017, including assault with a deadly weapon while on probation.
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services confirm there were no prior abuses documented and linked to Ervin.
Thompson appeared in court on Tuesday, but Ervin did not citing medical issues.
Thompson only answered “yeah” to questions from the magistrate, and both are expected back in court on Thursday.
Maliyah’s mum has a bail set at $175,000, while her boyfriend is being held for $150,000.
Ervin received a higher bond as authorities fear she will flee Texas after discovering she recently asked her mum whether she could move to join her in Arkansas.
This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission