Calgarians and Canadians are showing their support for the family of Sara Baillie and Taliyah Marsman after police located the body of the five-year-old east of the Calgary city limits on Thursday evening.
What are believed to be Taliyah's remains were found at roughly 7:15 p.m. at a rural location approximately eight kilometres outside of Calgary along McKnight Boulevard.
Edward Delten Downey has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of Taliyah and her mother, Sara Baillie.
The cause of Taliyah's death has not been determined and an autopsy is expected to be completed on Friday.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed his condolences to the family of the murdered mother and daughter while he was speaking in Calgary on Friday morning.
“On behalf of all Canadians I want to express our condolences to the family and people of Calgary for the devastating loss of Taliyah and her mom, Sara,” said Trudeau. “The fact is, I know there were a lot of hearts broken when the news came out and there were so many volunteers and police services involved in trying to help the terrible situation that we all need to take a moment to send our love and hearts out to Taliyah and Sara’s family.”
A statement was released on Friday afternoon on behalf of the Baillie, Fredette and Hamilton families saying…
“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.
At this point in time, we respectfully request that all media outlets respect the families’ privacy and direct all questions through the Calgary Police Service Public Affairs Media Relations Unit.
Accordingly, 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.
In addition, to all those extended family members and friends far and wide and, of social media as well, all your words thoughts and prayers will continue to see us through these darkened times.
The families will be providing, at a later date, timings for the memorial services for Sara and Taliyah.
Premier Rachel Notley also released a statement Friday morning.
“This is a devastating loss to Taliyah’s father, grandparents and family, compounded by the loss of her mother, Sara Baillie. Albertans offer our deepest condolences during this time and we grieve with you for the loss of these precious lives,” said Notley. “Our deepest gratitude and thanks go to the dedicated women and men of the Calgary Police Service, to everyone who heeded the Amber Alert and spread the word through social media and to all those who joined in the search for Taliyah.”
Following the discovery of the body on Thursday night, an impromptu candlelight vigil was held at the Panorama Hills home where the mother and daughter lived. Flowers, balloons and stuffed animals covered the lawn as Calgarians gathered to mourn.
Thousands of people took to Twitter to express their sorrow and condolences to the family. #RIPTaliyah and #TaliyahMarsman were trending on the social network Friday morning.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi thanked police service members and first responders commending them for their dedication on a difficult investigation.
"This is the hardest thing they will ever have to do and they have worked hard. They have been unbelievably dedicated in this process as they are every single day, keeping us safe and looking after our community and I for one live with gratitude that we live in a community with those first responders in it," he said. ""I want to encourage Calgarians to put their arms around that family and those friends and around out entire community. This is a deep hurt to our community but it’s a hurt we’ll be able to get through together."
The head of the Calgary Police Service says the tragic end to their search has had an impact on members of the force.
"Over the last 72 hours, we've had approximately 100 officers at time working around the clock with the goal of finding young Taliyah," said CPS Chief Constable Roger Chaffin. "They are completely devastated by the loss as am I."
The Calgary Firefighters Association tweeted a message of support to those involved in the case.
Prior to the tragic discovery, Taliyah’s father, Colin Marsman spoke with CTV, describing his young daughter: “She’s very smart, very articulate. She’s bright, she’s beautiful, she’s everything. She’s very smart and I love her,” said Marsman.
The body of 34-year-old Sara Baillie was found inside her home in the 1000 block of Panamount Boulevard Northwest on Monday evening. An AMBER Alert for Baillie's daughter was issued the following morning.
CJAY 92 has set up a gofundme page to help out the family, click HERE for details.
Downey is scheduled to make his first court appearance on Wednesday, July 20.