Update: The Amber Alert for Taliyah Leigh Marsman has been cancelled after a body was located
A Calgary woman found dead in her home was murdered, police confirmed Wednesday, as the Amber Alert for five-year-old Taliyah Leigh Marsman continued into a second day.
Investigators released security footage captured Sunday, July 10, 2016, at around 5:30 p.m., showing 34-year-old Sara Baillie with her daughter at the Dairy Queen restaurant at 66 Sandarac Dr. N.W. The footage appears to show Baillie speaking with a family at the DQ.
“Police would like to identify this family,” Insp. Don Coleman told reporters at Calgary Police headquarters on Wednesday. He added the footage appeared to suggest Baillie knew the family because she waved and chatted with them on the way in and on the way out of the restaurant.
Witnesses in the northwest community of Panorama, where the missing girl lived, spotted a child matching Marsman’s description Monday morning just before noon, police added.
Police said the girl was seen with a stocky, black man near Baillie’s vehicle, which was close to Panamount Boulevard N.W. The girl was wearing red or pink boots with white polka dots and was carrying a reddish-coloured suitcase.
“We believe there is a good possibility that’s Taliyah and an unknown male and we’re chasing down leads on that,” Coleman said. “If it is Taliyah, the suitcase is a promising indication that whoever she is with has the intentions of caring for her to some degree.”
“We’re hopeful that whoever does have her…maybe doesn’t realize the situation or is trying to figure out how to resolve it.”
A memorial with flowers and balloons outside the Panorama Hills basement suite where Baillie lived with her daughter continued to grow Wednesday.
The mother was found dead inside the suite Monday evening at 8:30 pm, but police will not say how she died.
An Amber Alert for Marsman was issued just five hours later, at around 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday.
“This little precious angel does not deserve this,” said Tanya Kruger, who is Marsman’s godmother.
She broke down in tears outside the home Wednesday.
“Just please bring her home, keep your eyes out and pray, that’s all I can ask for — and that we are going to miss her mother deeply.”
Kruger said Marsman called her auntie. She last saw the girl last weekend, when the two coloured pictures together.
When asked what she thought happened to her goddaughter, Kruger said she believes she was taken by someone who knew her.
“That’s for the police to do their work and find out and I know that justice will be served,” she added.
Calgary police believe Marsman was abducted from the basement suite, located in the 1000 block of Panamount Boulevard N.W. Investigators found no sign of forced entry.
The young girl is described as having a slim build, curly brown hair and blue eyes.
An autopsy on Baillie’s body was completed Wednesday and police were waiting for results.
Coleman said police have spoken with a “large amount” of Baillie’s family, including her parents, who he said are “incredibly upset for their daughter and incredibly upset about Taliyah.”
There are no plans at this time to expand the Amber Alert for Marsman beyond Alberta and police said they didn’t have any vehicles of interest that people should watch for.
GALLERY: Calgary police issued an Amber Alert for Taliyah Leigh Marsman, 5, on Tuesday, July 12, 2016.
Neighbours, friends and complete strangers have sought out the home the pair shared to visit the makeshift memorial and leave colourful balloons, stuffed animals, flowers and letters of support.
“My heart breaks for that family,” area resident Mavreen McNair said. “I don’t know them, but we’re all part of the same community, so we’re all together. We’re all one big family.”
“Our thoughts and prayers are with them.”
“We’re all very concerned,” neighbour Karen Mok said. “We’re all standing by and seeing what we can do to help out and offer our support to the family.”
“It’s just heart wrenching, especially being a teacher and seeing a child go missing within our community. It’s very, very scary.”
Volunteers, meanwhile, are plastering the neighbourhood with missing persons posters, hoping to help bring Marsman home safely.
Police said they have been in contact with Baille’s estranged husband, 36-year-old Colin Evan Marsman, who is also Taliyah Marsman’s father, and that he has been cooperating with police.
Both Baillie and Colin Marsman were known to police due to domestic-violence related calls.
Global News has also learned that Baillie and Colin Marsman were in family court last Thursday over child support payment issues.
The investigation into Baillie’s murder continues. Her cause of death hasn’t been released.
Although the Amber Alert was issued for all of Alberta, police said they don’t have any information to suggest that Marsman is outside of Calgary.
Anyone with information on the girl’s disappearance is asked to contact the Calgary Police Service’s non-emergency line at 403-266-1234 or 403-53-AMBER (403-532-6237).