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‘She was an incredible mother​’: Vigil honours murdered Calgary mom and daughter

Vigil held for murdered mother and daughter
WATCH ABOVE: An emotional evening in Calgary on Sunday as around 70 people gathered to remember a mother and daughter believed to have been murdered last month. As Carolyn Kury de Castillo reports, it was a chance for the family to thank the community and celebrate the victims’ lives.

A vigil was held Sunday night in Calgary in memory of a mother and daughter who were murdered in April.

Around 70 people gathered at a Cranston park — at the intersection of Cranarch Road S.E. and Cranarch Way — across from the home of Jasmine Lovett, 25, and her 22-month-old daughter Aliyah Sanderson.

According to a Facebook event post from Aliyah’s aunt, Amber Sanderson, the family organized the vigil to honour the pair and thank the community for the support they’ve received during this trying time.

READ MORE: Family ‘overwhelmed’ by community support following deaths of Jasmine Lovett, Aliyah Sanderson

“We really appreciate everyone and everything they have done,” read the post from Amber and Jodi Sanderson, who is Aliyah’s grandmother. “We hope you can all take a moment out of a special day for all the moms of the world to join our family and friends in remembering one of the best mothers we have ever known and her sweet daughter.”

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A vigil was held for murder victims Jasmine Lovett, 25, and 22-month-old Aliyah Sanderson in Calgary's Cranston neighbourhood on Sunday, May 12, 2019.
A vigil was held for murder victims Jasmine Lovett, 25, and 22-month-old Aliyah Sanderson in Calgary's Cranston neighbourhood on Sunday, May 12, 2019. Global News
A vigil was held for murder victims Jasmine Lovett, 25, and 22-month-old Aliyah Sanderson in Calgary's Cranston neighbourhood on Sunday, May 12, 2019.
A vigil was held for murder victims Jasmine Lovett, 25, and 22-month-old Aliyah Sanderson in Calgary's Cranston neighbourhood on Sunday, May 12, 2019. Global News
People gathered in a Cranston park in south Calgary on Sunday, May 12 (Mother's Day) to pay tribute to Jasmine Lovett and Aliyah Sanderson after they were murdered last month.
People gathered in a Cranston park in south Calgary on Sunday, May 12 (Mother's Day) to pay tribute to Jasmine Lovett and Aliyah Sanderson after they were murdered last month. Global News
Balloons were released at a vigil held for murder victims Jasmine Lovett, 25, and 22-month-old Aliyah Sanderson in Calgary's Cranston neighbourhood on Sunday, May 12, 2019.
Balloons were released at a vigil held for murder victims Jasmine Lovett, 25, and 22-month-old Aliyah Sanderson in Calgary's Cranston neighbourhood on Sunday, May 12, 2019. Global News
A vigil was held for murder victims Jasmine Lovett, 25, and 22-month-old Aliyah Sanderson in Calgary's Cranston neighbourhood on Sunday, May 12, 2019.
A vigil was held for murder victims Jasmine Lovett, 25, and 22-month-old Aliyah Sanderson in Calgary's Cranston neighbourhood on Sunday, May 12, 2019. Global News
A vigil was held for murder victims Jasmine Lovett, 25, and 22-month-old Aliyah Sanderson in Calgary's Cranston neighbourhood on Sunday, May 12, 2019.
A vigil was held for murder victims Jasmine Lovett, 25, and 22-month-old Aliyah Sanderson in Calgary's Cranston neighbourhood on Sunday, May 12, 2019. Global News
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People gathered in a Cranston park in south Calgary on Sunday, May 12 (Mother's Day) to pay tribute to Jasmine Lovett and Aliyah Sanderson after they were murdered last month.
People gathered in a Cranston park in south Calgary on Sunday, May 12 (Mother's Day) to pay tribute to Jasmine Lovett and Aliyah Sanderson after they were murdered last month. Carolyn Kury de Castillo/Global News

‘A wonderful blessing’

In a Sunday interview with Global News, Jodi said she wanted to make a tribute out of the tragedy.

“[Jasmine] was a really attentive and caring mom,” Jodi said. “I can’t say enough good things about her. She treated me well and she made me feel included.”

“Aliyah was a wonderful blessing to our family,” she added. “She was a really happy baby, always happy to see Nana. Her eyes would light right up. And she was smart. She walked early and tried to sing before she could talk to you. She was really an amazing baby. It’s a huge loss.”

‘An incredible mother’

Amber said the vigil was held on Mother’s Day for a reason.

“[Jasmine] was an incredible mother. She always put her daughter first in everything she did,” Amber said. “This just made sense. And, of course, to thank the community for all the work they’ve done.”
Mother and daughter, Jasmine Lovett and Aliyah Sanderson were reported missing on April 23, 2019.
Mother and daughter, Jasmine Lovett and Aliyah Sanderson were reported missing on April 23, 2019. Courtesy: Calgary Police Service

The compassion from the police and the public has been wonderful, she said.

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“It brought a tear to my eye to see how many people were acknowledging our loss and giving us their support through whatever way they wanted, through the fundraising or the beautiful ribbons that are everywhere,” Amber said.

Though the vigil brings closure, it won’t bring the mother and daughter back.

“I don’t think it’s ever going to be OK. We will just learn how to get through and continue to honour them as the time goes by,” Amber said.

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“Of course, dealing with grief is hard, and I have my good days and I have my bad days, but it helps to know we have the support of the community… so the rally of support has just shown us that we are not alone in this.”

Ribbons and flowers adorned the Cranston neighbourhood in Calgary on May 7, 2019, to remember Jasmine Lovett and Aliyah Sanderson and raise awareness about domestic violence.
Ribbons and flowers adorned the Cranston neighbourhood in Calgary on May 7, 2019, to remember Jasmine Lovett and Aliyah Sanderson and raise awareness about domestic violence. Global News
Calgary's Cranston Sobeys, pictured on May 7, 2019, sold thousands of cupcakes as a fundraiser for the families.
Calgary's Cranston Sobeys, pictured on May 7, 2019, sold thousands of cupcakes as a fundraiser for the families. Global News
On May 6, 2019, pink, white and purple ribbons were put up around the Cranston complex where Jasmine Lovett and Aliyah Sanderson lived.
On May 6, 2019, pink, white and purple ribbons were put up around the Cranston complex where Jasmine Lovett and Aliyah Sanderson lived. Michael King/Global News

Investigation recap

Investigators say Lovett and her daughter were killed sometime between April 16 and 17. Their bodies were found in the Grizzly Creek area of Kananaskis Country west of Calgary on May 6.

READ MORE: Robert Leeming charged with second-degree murders of Jasmine Lovett, Aliyah Sanderson

Robert Leeming, 34, has been charged with two counts of second-degree murder in connection with the deaths. The pair lived with him at the Cranston home.