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Calgary police believe evidence ‘burned’ in suspected double homicide

Calgary police believe evidence burned in suspected double homicide
WATCH: Calgary police are asking anyone who may have noticed a suspicious fire in the area of Bragg Creek, Elbow Falls, Priddis or East Kananaskis. As Jenna Freeman reports, police believe the suspect in the disappearance of Jasmine Lovett and her daughter Aliyah Sanderson may have burned evidence.

Calgary police say the suspect in what is believed to be the double homicide of mother Jasmine Lovett and her young daughter Aliyah Sanderson may have attempted to destroy evidence west of the city.

At a Monday news conference, Staff Sgt. Martin Schiavetta of the Calgary Police Service (CPS) homicide unit said the destruction of evidence “by means of burning” is thought to have happened in the area of Bragg Creek, Elbow Falls, Priddis and/or East Kananaskis sometime between Tuesday, April 16 and Saturday, April 20.

“We have learned that items may have been purchased which would destroy evidence,” Schiavetta explained.

WATCH: Calgary police believe the suspect in the disappearance of Jasmine Lovett and Aliyah Sanderson may have attempted to burn evidence.

Calgary police believe suspect may have attempted to burn evidence
Calgary police believe suspect may have attempted to burn evidence

Anyone who may have seen signs of a suspicious fire in an unusual area (not in a designated fire pit) is asked to call the CPS non-emergency number at 403-266-1234 or the homicide tip line at 403-428-8877. Tips can also be made anonymously through Crime Stoppers.

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Investigators reviewing CCTV footage 

Monday marks Day 6 of the CPS’ investigation into Lovett and Sanderson’s disappearance.

Lovett, 25, and 22-month-old Sanderson were last seen in the community of Cranston on the evening of Tuesday, April 16. Lovett’s family reported them missing after they didn’t show up to a family dinner on April 23.

Police have said previously that there is no evidence to suggest the pair are alive.

READ MORE: Search for missing Calgary mother and child now ‘suspected’ double-homicide investigation

In a statement released through Calgary police, Lovett’s family thanked everyone who has been helping in the search for their loved ones.

“Our hearts are shattered and we continue to seek answers to the questions many of you are asking,” the family statement reads.

“If anyone has any information about this case, we beg of you to please contact police.”

The statement went on to say the family isn’t ready to speak publicly and asked for privacy during an “extremely difficult time.”

Schiavetta said investigators have received many tips from the public already, and are looking into each of them.

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Currently, officers are in the process of reviewing surveillance footage

“As in any homicide investigation, CCTV collection and review is paramount,” Schiavetta said.

WATCH: ‘Our goal… is to hold the person accountable for these homicides’: Calgary police

‘Our goal… is to hold the person accountable for these homicides’: Calgary police
‘Our goal… is to hold the person accountable for these homicides’: Calgary police

He added that almost every member of the homicide unit is investigating this case, as well as members of several other units, including the domestic conflict unit.

Bragg Creek investigation on hold pending snowmelt

Investigators launched a search of wooded areas near Bragg Creek and Priddis, Alta., last week but said on Monday the search of that area is “paused” due to significant snowfall in the area. The search will resume once the snow has melted.

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“We hope that the weather improves so that we can get our searchers out in the area as soon as possible,” Schiavetta said.

Members of the public are asked not to attempt a search on their own as it could result in accidental destruction of evidence under the snow.

Public’s help still sought in information on grey Mercedes SUV

Meanwhile, police are continuing to look for information on the movement of a grey Mercedes SUV driven by a man in his mid-30s in the areas of Bragg Creek, Elbow Falls, Priddis and East Kananaskis between April 16 and 20.

Calgary police released a stock photo of a Mercedes SUV on Saturday in hopes of finding the driver who was seen in the areas of Bragg Creek, Elbow Falls, Priddis and East Kananaskis between April 16 and 20.
Calgary police released a stock photo of a Mercedes SUV on Saturday in hopes of finding the driver who was seen in the areas of Bragg Creek, Elbow Falls, Priddis and East Kananaskis between April 16 and 20. Courtesy: Calgary Police Service

Investigators believe the man was in the Fullerton Loop and Elbow Falls area on April 18 between 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

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Cranston property released by Calgary police

A townhouse in the southeast Calgary community of Cranston was at the centre of the investigation for several days but has since been released to the property owner.

Calgary police investigate at a house in the city's southeast neighbourhood of Cranston Thursday, April 25, 2019 in connection with the suspected homicides of 25-year-old Jasmine Lovett and 22-month-old Aliyah Sanderson.
Calgary police investigate at a house in the city's southeast neighbourhood of Cranston Thursday, April 25, 2019 in connection with the suspected homicides of 25-year-old Jasmine Lovett and 22-month-old Aliyah Sanderson. Jenna Freeman, Global News
Calgary police investigate at a house in the city's southeast neighbourhood of Cranston Thursday, April 25, 2019 in connection with the suspected homicides of 25-year-old Jasmine Lovett and 22-month-old Aliyah Sanderson.
Calgary police investigate at a house in the city's southeast neighbourhood of Cranston Thursday, April 25, 2019 in connection with the suspected homicides of 25-year-old Jasmine Lovett and 22-month-old Aliyah Sanderson. Kevin Billo, Global News
Calgary police investigate at a house in the city's southeast neighbourhood of Cranston Thursday, April 25, 2019 in connection with the suspected homicides of 25-year-old Jasmine Lovett and 22-month-old Aliyah Sanderson.
Calgary police investigate at a house in the city's southeast neighbourhood of Cranston Thursday, April 25, 2019 in connection with the suspected homicides of 25-year-old Jasmine Lovett and 22-month-old Aliyah Sanderson. Kevin Billo, Global News
Calgary police investigate at a house in the city's southeast neighbourhood of Cranston Thursday, April 25, 2019 in connection with the suspected homicides of 25-year-old Jasmine Lovett and 22-month-old Aliyah Sanderson.
Calgary police investigate at a house in the city's southeast neighbourhood of Cranston Thursday, April 25, 2019 in connection with the suspected homicides of 25-year-old Jasmine Lovett and 22-month-old Aliyah Sanderson. Kevin Billo, Global News
Calgary police investigate at a house in the city's southeast neighbourhood of Cranston Thursday, April 25, 2019 in connection with the suspected homicides of 25-year-old Jasmine Lovett and 22-month-old Aliyah Sanderson.
Calgary police investigate at a house in the city's southeast neighbourhood of Cranston Thursday, April 25, 2019 in connection with the suspected homicides of 25-year-old Jasmine Lovett and 22-month-old Aliyah Sanderson. Kevin Billo, Global News

The home, belonging to Robert Leeming, was searched by investigators while he was questioned by police. Police said Leeming was the “primary suspect” in the investigation but released him without charges on Friday.

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READ MORE: Primary suspect in Calgary double-homicide investigation has prior animal cruelty convictions

On Monday, Schiavetta said Leeming remains the “prime suspect” and a vehicle seized from his property remains in the custody of police.

Robert Leeming’s animal cruelty convictions

Global News has confirmed Leeming pleaded guilty to three charges under the animal cruelty act in August 2018.

The charges relate to incidents in Priddis, Alta.

READ MORE: Primary suspect in Calgary double-homicide investigation has prior animal cruelty convictions

Court documents show Leeming pleaded guilty to causing a dog to be in distress, failing to ensure the dog had adequate food and water, and failing to provide the dog with adequate shelter.

The incidents happened in May 2018 near Priddis.