Calgary police have charged 46-year-old Edward Delten 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 Calgary police said a body believed to be that of five-year-old Marsman, the subject of an Alberta-wide Amber Alert, was located near Chestermere, Alta. on Thursday.
“The family is devastated,” Insp. Don Coleman with Calgary Police Service said Thursday night.
“We all are feeling the most profound grief and sadness that stems from the inconceivable and senseless murders of both Sara Baillie and Taliyah Marsman, Sara’s daughter,” the victims’ families said in a statement Friday afternoon. “The families would like to extend their gratitude to the Calgary Police Service (“CPS”), who have devoted countless resources of hours, dedicated men and women and technology. Although our hopes and prayers may not have been answered, we certainly in no way, shape, or form blame the CPS.”
“To all those extended family members and friends far and wide and, on social media as well, all your words, thoughts and prayers will continue to see us through these darkened times.”
The families are also holding a public vigil for Marsman and Ballie at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, July 17 at Sandstone Park in northwest Calgary.
Coleman said some “traditional investigative techniques” led police to the area east of Calgary.
The body was found at around 6:45 p.m.
“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.”
Police said the exact location of where the body was found will not be released to protect the integrity of the investigation.
Watch below: Calgary police chief Roger Chaffin announces they believe they have found the body of Taliyah Marsman.
Downey, who police said also goes by the last name Simmonds, was taken into police custody at around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday night and charged Thursday night.
Officers said the man was known to Marsman, Baillie, Baillie’s estranged husband, Colin Evan Marsman, and police.
“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.”
Investigators believe Marsman was dead by the time police were called.
“I can tell you that the timeline of events through the investigation would suggest that both events occurred prior to police involvement on Monday.”
“There was nothing we could do before we even got involved.”
Watch below: Calgary police sealed off an area in Skyview Ranch Thursday night, where the suspect, Edward Downey, supposedly lived.
Global News has learned Downey has prior convictions for trafficking cocaine. Police in Atlantic Canada said he also has ties to organized crime in Nova Scotia, where he lived for some time.
Police had previously said he was not cooperating with the investigation.
Sara Baillie, 34, was found dead on Monday evening after police were called to her Panorama Hills home. Friends were concerned after Baillie failed to show up to work.
Five hours after police discovered her body, an Alberta-wide Amber Alert was issued for Taliyah.
Baillie’s death was ruled a homicide, but investigators have not released the cause of her death.
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, was cancelled officially at 11 p.m. on Thursday.
WATCH: Tributes to five-year-old Taliyah Marsman have been pouring in on Twitter. Lisa MacGregor has details.
An autopsy for the body found near Chestermere is expected Friday.
In addition, police said the scene near Chestermere will continue to be searched Friday.
Downey will stay in custody until his next court appearance, which is scheduled for July 20.
Watch below: Ongoing video footage of Taliyah Leigh Marsman’s disappearance