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Forensic pathologist at Downey double murder trial says victims died by asphyxiation
Court sketch of Edward Downey (Janice Fletcher)
Published Tuesday, December 4, 2018 11:53AM MST
Last Updated Tuesday, December 4, 2018 2:44PM MST
A forensic pathologist who performed the autopsies on Sara Baillie and Taliyah Marsman says the Calgary mother and daughter died from asphyxiation.
(**Warning: Graphic content)
Dr. Bamidele Adeagbo is testifying at the trial for Edward Downey.
Downey, 48, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Baillie and Marsman in 2016.
Baillie’s body was found with duct tape wrapped around her neck and face, stuffed into a laundry basket in a closet of her Panorama Hills home on July 11, 2016.
The body of her five-year-old daughter, Taliyah, was found three days later in a rural area east of Calgary.
Dr. Adeagbo conducted an autopsy on Baillie’s body on July 13, 2016 and says she was asphyxiated.
He said a diagnostic test determined that the hyoid bone, in the front of Baillie’s neck, was fractured and that it was ‘indicative of forceful injury.’
Dr. Adeagbo also performed an autopsy on Taliyah and said her death was caused by asphyxiation, possibly by smothering and strangling.
On Tuesday, jurors were once again presented with autopsy photos and heard more testimony from the forensic pathologist.
Adeagbo talked about the injuries to Taliyah’s body and said that there were abrasions to her forehead and on the right side of her neck. He said that the injuries were like ‘scratching from fingernails.’
He was asked if some of the abrasions could have been from her body being moved across brush or twigs after her death and he said that could be an explanation for some of the injuries.
Under cross examination, Dr Adeagbo was asked if he would know the time of Baillie’s death and he said that he couldn’t determine that as there were too many variabilities.
Defence attorney, Gavin Wolch, asked Adeagbo if Taliyah died 12 to 18 hours before the autopsy and the doctor said there were too many variables to say for sure.
The defence asked if Sara was dead or alive when she was placed in the laundry basket. Dr Adeagbo said he couldn't say for sure but agreed that the bent positions she was in would have killed her because it would have restricted oxygen.
Mark Leckie testified next and told the court that he was visiting Calgary on July 12, 2016 when he found a Samsung cellphone beside a tree in a park.
He said that he left the phone with the family he was staying with in Panorama Hills.
Leckie was staying at the home of Heather Hubert who was called as the Crown’s next witness.
She said Leckie left the cellphone at her house and that she held onto it so she could return it if someone called about it.
When she turned the phone on, she saw there were 15 missed calls from the same person.
She said she noticed the name ‘Taliyah’ on the phone and also saw the name Colin, which is the name of Taliyah’s dad.
Hubert said she knew there was an ongoing police investigation and realized the phone may have something to do with the case so she took it to police.
She testified that she did not see any text messages.
Family members are once again in attendance and many wiped away tears as they heard the testimony.
A judge and jury, consisting of five men and seven women, are hearing the case, which is scheduled to last three weeks.
More to come…
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