Police release surveillance footage in Calgary AMBER Alert case
Published Wednesday, July 13, 2016 4:57AM MDT Last Updated Wednesday, July 13, 2016 6:40PM MDT
The AMBER Alert for missing five-year-old Taliyah Leigh Marsman is into its second day and police have released CCTV images that were captured from a Dairy Queen in the area on the weekend.
Police spent Tuesday evening handing out missing persons flyers in the northwest community of Panorama Hills, from which Taliyah went missing.
The Forensic Crime Unit also spent the night at the home where Taliyah's mother, Sara Baillie, was found dead on Monday night.
A makeshift memorial for Baillie is growing on the front lawn, along with notes of hope that the little girl will be found.
Karen Mok, who lives in the community, dropped off flowers at the home Wednesday morning. She says she wants the family to know that the neighbourhood is supporting them in their difficult time.
"I did not know them, but I just wanted to let the family know that we’re here to support them and we’re hoping and praying that we can find her."said Mok.
Police have not named any suspects, but are talking to people of interest.
An autopsy was scheduled for Tuesday and the results are expected to be released sometime Wednesday.
Meantime, Taliyah’s extended family are pleading for her safe return.
“Please return her. Drop her off at an RCMP station, Calgary Police Service station or grocery store, gas station, wherever you want. Contact the family; we’ll come and pick her up. There will be no questions asked. We love her, we miss her and we want her back,” said Scott Hamilton, the uncle of Taliyah’s mother, Sara Baillie.
Calgary Police issued an AMBER Alert early Tuesday morning after Baillie was found dead in the basement suite in which she lived and her daughter was discovered missing.
Taliyah is believed to have been abducted by an unknown person. She is mixed race, with a slim build, brown curly hair, and blue eyes. Her clothing is unknown.
“She’s not your average five-year-old girl. She’s very mature,” said a family member. “If you ever got to talk to her or saw her, you wouldn’t know she was five. You’d think she was more seven or eight-years-old. She’s taller than most kids and very mature.”
“Taliyah is a vivacious, wonderful child. Curious,” said Hamilton, choking back tears.
He says she enjoys spending time playing on her iPad, and she just recently learned to ride a bike. “It sits in our garage waiting for her to come back.”
Taliyah’s extended family say they are very close. She often has sleepovers with her great aunt, Marilynne, and great uncle, Scott.
“Taliyah would come over and have supper with us,” said Hamilton, “always engaging, always wanting to watch cartoons – while perhaps someone else, like myself, would want to watch the news, but that was ok cause it was Taliyah… She would sleep with Marilynne and I until I snored too much, and then I would have to leave the bed.”
Officers were called to a home in the 1000 block of Panamount Boulevard N.W. at about 8:30 p.m., on Monday, after Baillie’s family were unable to reach her.
Police say there was no sign of forced entry into the home, the death is suspicious and they are treating it as a homicide.
“We’ve lost a niece, a sister, a daughter, and a mother within the last 12 hours. God rest her soul,” said her uncle, Scott Hamilton. “Sara was a beautiful young woman who single handedly was raising her daughter and we love her and we miss her.”
The mother and daughter were the only tenants living in the basement of the home. The landlord and upstairs neighbor, Olumuyiwa Dada, says they were good tenants who caused no problems and had few visitors. He says he saw them last week and didn’t know anything was wrong until a family member came by on Monday afternoon.
“I saw a young guy around 12:30 knocking on the door. So, I came out the back door and he said ‘I want to see her.’ I said, ‘she must have gone to work.’ He said, ‘no’, they had been trying to locate her since 10 o’clock and they couldn’t get her,” said Olumuyiwa.
Police say Baillie didn’t show up for work, at the Chili’s Grill in the Calgary Airport, on Monday and the last time anyone had seen Taliyah was 11:30 a.m. Sunday morning.
Investigators are casting a wide net in an effort to locate the five-year-old.
“We’re looking provincially. There’s nothing to suggest that Taliyah is outside of Calgary, but we’re not ruling out any possibilities including that she may be in the care of somebody right now – having been dropped off and that person or those people may not know what’s transpired,” said Coleman.
Police say they were previously looking for a 2016 white Ford Fusion. That vehicle was located in the community of Panorama Hills, not far from the home, but the girl is still missing.
On Tuesday, volunteers were handing out flyers featuring Taliyah’s picture and description around the Panorama Hills neighbourhood. Sheila Do was one of them. “I’m just hoping she’s ok and all,” said Do.
Do occasionally babysat for the family. She says that Taliyah is like a little sister to her.
“She’s energetic and she smiles and laughs and we had fun when we were together,” said an emotional Do. “We used to play toys together – Barbies.”
Mike and Tania Koloff live next door to the family. Tania says she’s shaken. “[It’s] very scary, very sad for what this family is going through right now. I hope that little girl is ok,” said Tania.
Mike says the events are a complete shock. “Knowing there’s a missing five-year-old and an AMBER alert issued for the home right next door is disturbing to say the least – we generally don’t see high crime in this neighbourhood. It’s fairly quiet.”
Police have gathered CCTV footage from Sunday that shows Baillie and her daughter at a Dairy Queen on Sandarac Drive N.W. at about 5:30 p.m. The footage appears to show Baillie talking to another family in the restaurant and police are hoping to speak to them.
Investigators say people in the community saw a girl matching Taliyah's description on Monday at about 11:30 a.m. and say she was seen with a stocky, black male near the area where Baillie's car was found.
“There was some witnesses that observed, and of course at the time they’re not aware of the incident, but they observed what they believed to be a stocky, black male and a small female, that matches Taliyah’s description, with the boots and the suitcase, leave the area where the car was so we believe that is a good possibility that’s Taliyah and an unknown male so we’re chasing down leads on that,” said Coleman.
The girl was wearing red or pink boots with white polka dots and was carrying a reddish-coloured suitcase.
“We’re hopeful that she’s safe. We’re going to remain hopeful that she’s safe and that she’s just with somebody that’s trying to figure out what to do,” said Coleman. “If the girl seen in Panorama with the boots and the suitcase is in fact Taliyah, the suitcase is a promising indication that whoever she’s with has intensions of caring for her to some degree. We’re hopeful that whoever does have her, like I said before, maybe didn’t realize the situation or is trying to figure out how to resolve it. Whoever that is needs to be aware that anytime children are harmed that changes the game and takes things to a whole new level for everybody.”
Anyone with information is urged to call 403-53-AMBER (403-532-6237), the Calgary Police or Crime Stoppers.