A man who says he was arrested and interviewed by police in relation to the investigation of the suspected double homicide of Jasmine Lovett and her daughter Aliyah Sanderson said he last saw the pair about a week and a half ago.
Robert Leeming was released from police custody on Friday after spending 24 hours with investigators. Police said he was arrested at 11 a.m. Thursday.
After telling Global News he visited a Cranston-area bar, Leeming, who was intoxicated, returned to his home which has become a central scene of the criminal investigation, with forensics teams poring over the garage and home since his arrest.
Lovett and her 22-month-old daughter were last seen on April 16, according to police. They were reported missing on April 23, after they didn’t show up to a family dinner. Homicide investigators got involved with the investigation into their disappearance on Thursday.
Leeming said police first came to his home and “almost bashed the door down” on Tuesday of this week.
“They were bashing until like 1 a.m. and I woke up and I was like, ‘What the f**k is going on?’ and opened the door and like… they came in and it was like 20 officers just searched the place,” Leeming said.
WATCH: A man arrested and questioned by police in relation to the investigation into the suspected double homicide of a Calgary mother and daughter spoke to media on Friday, giving his account of the days leading up to the police search. Nancy Hixt reports.
Two days later he said more officers came to his home and arrested him.
Leeming told media that he and Lovett were in an intimate relationship but that she was not his girlfriend.
He said she and her daughter are tenants and had been living there for about seven months. Leeming has lived in the home for five years.
“I hope she’s alright, you know,” he said. “I mean what do you do, right?”
Leeming confirmed an SUV towed from the Cranston home, which Global News has confirmed belongs to him, was also his.
Speaking with Global News later Friday evening, and appearing to still be intoxicated, Leeming said the entire situation was “terrible.”
When asked if he was the person responsible for the homicides, Leeming said: “course not, course not.”
When asked why pings from his cellphone were what led investigators to the Bragg Creek area, he said he took Lovett and Sanderson to a picnic area in Bragg Creek and then brought them back to his Cranston home.
WATCH: Police converge on property near Bragg Creek in search for missing mom and daughter. Christa Dao reports from the scene.
In his two separate interviews with Global News and other media, Leeming gave conflicting dates on when he last saw the mother and daughter alive. In one interview at around 5:30 p.m., Leeming said he last saw the pair on April 18. However, in a second interview about three hours later, he said he last saw them both on April 16 and 17.
Leeming told Global News he spent time with the toddler, sometimes taking care of her.
“She was a great kid and I had no issues with them at all,” he said.
“Who says that they’re dead? That’s crazy. I don’t know where they are.”
While Leeming was released on Friday, Calgary police maintained he was still the primary suspect in the double homicide case.
Leeming said he is not a Canadian citizen but has permanent residency in the country. He said police told him he needs to maintain contact with homicide detectives as the investigation continues.
The Cranston home is one of two locations police have been focusing heavily on through their investigation — the second is about 50 kilometres west of the city in the Bragg Creek area.
There, more than 50 people including Calgary police officers on horseback, RCMP officers, search and rescue and Alberta Fish and Wildlife officers, have been combing through wooded areas near Bragg Creek and Priddis in search for any evidence.
On Friday evening, a cadaver dog was brought in along with a large RCMP tactical unit to help with the search.