Mother dead, child missing in Calgary; Police issue Amber Alert

Taliyah Leigh Marsman’s father is estranged from her mother and he is co-operating with the investigation

CALGARY – Calgary police aren’t ruling anything out in their search for a missing five-year-old whose mother was found dead in the basement suite she had recently rented in a large home.

Insp. Don Coleman says one possibility is that Taliyah Leigh Marsman was dropped off with someone who has yet to realize the girl is the subject of an Amber Alert issued overnight.

“Anything’s possible, including that whoever may have committed the offence and taken Taliyah has dropped her off with other people, and those other people may not know that Taliyah’s mother has been the victim of a homicide,” Coleman said at a news conference Tuesday morning.

He said family members last saw the girl Sunday morning. They became concerned when Taliyah’s mother, identified by her landlord as Sara Baillie, didn’t show up at work, so they went to her home Monday evening to check on her.

“Family members went to the residence. She wasn’t there. Neither was Taliyah,” Coleman said. “Subsequently police were called. Patrol officers attended the residence and the deceased was located in the home.”

Coleman said their were no signs of forced entry.

Taliyah’s father is estranged from her mother, he said.

“We’ve spoken with him. He is co-operating with the investigation.”

Coleman said the couple was known to police.

“There is limited domestic history both reported and unreported,” he said. “Domestic violence.”

Court documents show Baillie was the complainant in a case with a man identified as Colin Evan Marsman.

Justice officials say Marsman, who turns 37 Wednesday, was charged with unlawful confinement and intimidation by threats on Feb. 1, 2015. But the charges were withdrawn March 2. A peace bond was issued on that same day.

Taliyah is described as a mixed-race child with a slim build, brown curly hair and blue eyes.

The man who owns the house in a quiet northwest Calgary neighbourhood said Baillie and her daughter moved into his suite May 1 and were good tenants.

Olumuyiwa Dada said family members came by on Monday looking for the woman and he did not see or hear anything in the downstairs apartment.

He said he has never met the five-year-old’s father.

He said the last time he saw his tenants was last week when they were coming home with groceries.

“No stress. No problems,” Dada said.

Yellow police tape blocked off the stairway down to the suite’s entrance at the back of the house.

“I’m really feeling down because I only see things like this on the TV,” he said. “I don’t really understand what is happening myself. I’m really in shock.”

The mother’s car police initially said may have been connected to the disappearance was found not far from the home. It was seized by forensic investigators.

Coleman said he is not convinced a stranger was involved in the child’s disappearance.

“That’s all part of the witness interviews and interviewing family to try and figure out who may have been coming and going from the residence, any relationships that she may have had. There is a whole host of investigative avenues to cover off in a short period of time,” he said.

“Our primary focus is the safe return of Taliyah.”

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