NIPAWIN, Sask. – RCMP in Saskatchewan say they have found the body of a missing seven-year-old girl who had been the subject of an Amber Alert.
The alert was issued by police in Nipawin overnight after Nia Eastman was not returned to her mother.
Police said Nia’s father, Adam Jay Eastman, was found dead earlier in the day from self-inflicted injuries.
Officers found the girl’s body in a home in Choiceland, a small community not far from Nipawin, where residents say the father rented a home.
RCMP Insp. Jennifer Ebert struggled to maintain composure as she broke news of the girl’s death to reporters.
“All of us had hoped and prayed Nia would be located safely,” she said, choking back tears. “This was not the outcome any of us were hoping for and our thoughts are with her family and the communities.”
Ebert said investigators were trying to piece together what happened after Nia’s father picked her up from school on Wednesday.
“Our investigators are working diligently to determine exactly what took place,” Ebert said. “At this point in the investigation, there is no indication anyone else was involved in Nia’s death and we are not seeking any suspects.”
A Facebook page belonging to a Jay Eastman features several photos of a little girl smiling happily with her father. People who knew Eastman say he went by his middle name “Jay.”
On Tuesday afternoon, a day before Nia was to be returned to her mother, there was a photo posted of the girl and an unidentified woman with the super-imposed caption “My World.”
On Wednesday, the page’s cover photo was changed to a picture of a skull and crossbones with the slogan: “Leave me alone. I’ve had enough.”
There were no further posts after that.
A business owner in Choiceland said Eastman had been renting a house there and dropped in to talk to her pretty much every day.
The woman, who did not want her name used, said Eastman and his wife had separated about two months ago. She said Nia was their only child, although Eastman had two children from a previous common-law relationship.
“He was having mental issues. Him and his wife split up. It wasn’t a good situation,” she said.
The woman said she would see Eastman and Nia together occasionally and he doted on the little girl.
“He loved her a lot. She was all he had.”
The woman said Eastman had worked at a Co-op for a while, but was currently unemployed.