Suspect may have burned evidence in case of missing mother and child, say police
Published Monday, April 29, 2019 10:20AM MDT
Last Updated Monday, April 29, 2019 6:46PM MDT
The Calgary police Forensic Unit has completed its search of a southeast condo where missing mother Jasmine Lovett lived with her 22-month-old daughter Aliyah Sanderson.
Officers spent several days searching a condo in the Cranston neighbourhood, which is owned by Robert Leeming, 34, who confirmed he was arrested Thursday and questioned by police then released the next day.
Police have said the man released remains the prime suspect in the disappearance and suspected killing of the 25-year-old mother and her 22-month-old daughter.
Investigators are now waiting for snow to melt so they can resume searching west of the city, where they had been focused on the Bragg Creek and Priddis areas for several days until a snap blizzard swept over the region on Saturday. They were led to the areas by analyzing electronic devices like cell phones, though police haven't said who those devices belong to.
Police said Monday they believe the suspect may have destroyed evidence by burning it between April 16 and 20 somewhere around Bragg Creek, Elbow Falls, Priddis, or East Kananaskis and are asking anyone who saw signs of a suspicious fire to contact them.
Leeming spoke to reporters soon after being released on Friday and said Lovett and her daughter moved into his condo in October and lived there until they went missing earlier this month. He said he was romantically involved with Lovett for a short time, but wasn’t when they disappeared.
The pair were reported missing on April 23 after failing to show up at a planned family dinner.
Family last heard from Lovett on April 16 and her bank card was last used on April 18 for an online delivery, however police have said they don’t know conclusively who made that purchase.
Homicide Staff Sgt. Martin Schiavetta has said police have no evidence to show the pair is still alive and are treating their disappearance as a double homicide.
Lovett's family released a statement pleading for answers on Sunday, saying they are devastated by the disappearance.
“They are so loved by so many people and we just want answers," it says. "We are pleading with the public to keep contacting the police with information and checking your properties for anything that seems out of the ordinary. We are hoping and praying for closure for everyone involved."
Leeming told reporters he last saw Lovett on April 18 and he has no idea what happened to them.
He said he went to a picnic area near Bragg Creek with Lovett and Sanderson ahead of their disappearance and they returned together.
"We went for beers and chilled out and came back," said Leeming. “They were here on the next day. I went somewhere else and they weren’t here when I came back.”
Leeming is a British citizen who said he has permanent resident status in Canada.
Police have seized a vehicle as part of their investigation. Leeming confirmed that was his Mercedes-Benz SUV and on Monday, Schiavetta said police still have the vehicle.
Officers want to hear from anyone who saw a man in his 30s driving a grey, luxury SUV in the East Kananaskis area between April 16 and 20, specifically around Fullerton Loop and Elbow Falls between 2:30 and 4:30 p.m. on April 18.
Police say the man driving the SUV may have been alone or with one or both of the victims. There may have also been fresh mulch in the vehicle.
Anyone with information is asked to call police at 403-266-1234 or the Homicide Tip Line at 403-428-8877.