Calgary police find body believed to be that of Taliyah Marsman

Calgary police have found a body believed to belong to missing five-year-old Taliyah Leigh Marsman.

1st-degree murder charges pending against 46-year-old man

Calgary police say they believe they have found the body of five-year-old Taliyah Marsman. (Facebook/CBC)

For the latest breaking news, see: Body of 5-year-old Taliyah Marsman found, 1st-degree charges pending

Calgary police say the man taken into custody in the case of a missing girl and her slain mother is known to the family but has not been co-operating with investigators.

Police have not identified the man, who has not been charged, but said at a news conference Thursday that he has an extensive criminal history, including violent offences.

Calgary police and RCMP searched rural properties east of Calgary on Thursday looking for evidence in the case. (Evelyne Asselin/CBC)

Insp. Don Coleman said although dozens of officers and Mounties have been searching a rural area east of Calgary, they have not turned up any evidence in the case of missing five-year-old Taliyah Leigh Marsman, whose mother's body was found in their basement apartment in the Panorama Hills neighbourhood on Monday.

Sara Baillie's death was quickly ruled a homicide and an Amber Alert was issued for her daughter. It is still in place.

The search has been focused on crop fields next to Range Road 282, just south of the hamlet of Delacour.

"Nothing of significance in the case has been found," said Coleman.

The man in custody was arrested in a strip mall parking lot in Calgary near 32nd Avenue and 32nd Street N.E. Wednesday evening.

Sara Baillie was found dead earlier this week in the home she was renting for herself and her daughter in northwest Calgary. (Facebook)

Coleman said his lack of co-operation is "extremely frustrating" for investigators.

He said police are still hoping that Marsman will be found alive.

"There's been nothing to indicate the status of that has changed," he said.

Taliyah Leigh Marsman, 5, has been missing since her mother's body was found in their apartment on Monday. Police said Thursday they have a man in custody in the case. (Facebook)

Police can only hold the suspect in custody until later tonight before they have to charge or release him.

"We haven't closed our minds to any other suspects. There could be more people. We don't know at this time," Coleman added.

Coleman said a case like this is challenging for police.

"It's emotional for everybody," he said.

"With large investigations, there's a little bit of an emotional roller-coaster at times that investigators have to manage. I can tell you there's a ton of people helping out with this, service-wide."

Police released CCTV footage images of this grey sedan, which was spotted driving in the Panorama Hills area around the last time Taliyah was seen. (Calgary Police Service )

Police said a stuffed animal was found in the rural search but it hasn't been determined if it is connected to the case.

"Nothing of significance in the case has been found," Coleman said.

Taliyah's relatives, including her father, 36-year-old Colin Marsman, who is the estranged spouse of Sara Baillie, have made public pleas for the girl's safe return. Police have said Marsman has been co-operative with investigators.

Police fan out as they search a field near the side of Range Road 282, just south of the hamlet of Delacour which is northeast of Calgary. (Evelyne Asselin/CBC)

Police have said witnesses in the Panorama Hills neighbourhood reported seeing a little girl matching Taliyah's description walking with a stocky, black male on Monday morning near where they found Baillie's car abandoned. The girl was wearing red or pink boots with white polka dots, and was carrying a reddish-coloured suitcase, police say.

On Thursday morning, police released pictures of a grey sedan that was being driven in the Panorama Hills area around the time Taliyah was last seen. ​The man in custody is believed to have been driving the car, police said. 

The sedan was seized by police when the man was arrested Wednesday.

Police say Colin Marsman, 36, Baillie's estranged common-law husband, and father of their missing five-year-old girl, has been co-operating with the investigation. (The self-taken image is reversed, as is common with many photos taken with front-facing cellphone cameras.) (Facebook)

Margaret Orr said police dropped by her home in a rural area east of Calgary to see ask if she had seen anything. That prompted her to have a look around her property, she said.

"I just took the initiative to go out and search and see if there were maybe some vehicles, or we have playhouses and storage sheds, a greenhouse," she said. "Didn't see anything in there."

Orr said there is a lot of high grass in the area, which would make a search difficult.

Police also released images taken from a security camera at a Dairy Queen around 5:30 p.m. on Sunday showing Baillie and Taliyah speaking to other patrons. Investigators are hoping to speak with those people.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call 911.


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