Calgary police have charged 46-year-old Edward Downey with two counts of first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of Taliyah Leigh Marsman and her mother, Sara Baillie.
The charges come after a body believed to be that of five-year-old Marsman, the subject of an Alberta-wide Amber Alert, was located near Chestermere, Alta., Calgary police said Thursday night.
“The family is devastated,” Insp. Don Coleman with Calgary Police Service said Thursday night.
Downey, who police said also goes by the last name Simmons, was taken into police custody Wednesday night and charged Thursday night.
“At this point Mr. Downey is our only suspect,” Coleman said. “I can’t speak to any motive. That’s something that we still have to figure out.”
Global News has learned Downey has prior convictions for trafficking cocaine.
Police said they located what they believe is Marsman’s body on rural property east of Chestermere late Thursday afternoon. The exact location of where the body was found will not be released, police added.
Coleman said some “traditional investigative techniques” led police to the area east of Calgary. The body was found at around 6:45 p.m. Thursday.
“I believe it’s just a field with some out buildings. I don’t believe there’s a residence there,” Coleman said of the scene. “It’s just a field east of town where there’s some type of storage bins, grain bins of some kind.”
The 46-year-old Downey was taken into police custody at around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday. Officers said the man was known to Marsman, Baillie, Baillie’s estranged husband, Colin Evan Marsman, and police.
Earlier Thursday, police said the suspect was not cooperating with the investigation.
“He has an extensive criminal history,” Coleman said earlier Thursday. He also confirmed the suspect is known to be violent. “I believe his background would probably have some of that in it, yeah.”
Sara Baillie, 34, was found dead Monday evening after police were called to her home in northwest Calgary. An Alberta-wide Amber Alert was later issued for Taliyah.
Police ruled Baillie’s death a homicide, but have not released the cause of her death.
Police were called to the home of Baillie and Marsman in the northwest Calgary neighbourhood of Panorama Hills around 8:30 p.m. MT Monday after family members became concerned because Baillie didn’t show up for work and stopped answering calls.
Police said they were in contact with Baillie’s estranged husband, who was co-operating with the investigation.
The Amber Alert, which was issued at around 1:40 a.m. Tuesday, has been cancelled. An autopsy on the body found near Chestermere is expected Friday.
Police said the scene near Chestermere will continue to be searched Friday.
Coleman said Downey will stay in custody until his next court appearance on July 20.