Edward Downey, charged in death of Taliyah Marsman, has Halifax ties
Court records show 46-year-old man has connection to Nova Scotia
The Calgary man facing two first-degree murder charges in the death of five-year-old Taliyah Marsman and her mother Sara Baillie has a Nova Scotia connection.
Edward Downey, who also goes by the name Edward Simmonds, was charged Thursday evening after the discovery of the child's body east of Calgary.
Downey, 46, lived for a time in Nova Scotia. CBC News has learned that Calgary police believe Downey is connected to the North Preston's Finest gang. Calgary police also know the group as the Willis Crew.
In 1994, Downey faced several motor vehicle charges under his alternate name Edward Simmonds. He was then 24. He has no other criminal record in Nova Scotia, however Calgary police say Downey's criminal history is "extensive."
Downey's record in Alberta includes convictions for trafficking of a controlled substance and unauthorized possession of a firearm. He also has a conviction of aiding someone to engage in prostitution.
Police have not given a possible motive for the killings of the mother and daughter. However, police were chasing the connections to North Preston's Finest very early on in the investigation because the gang specializes in prostitution and human trafficking.
Police say the accused is known to both victims.
Police originally said Downey also knew Taliyah's father, Colin Marsman — Baillie's estranged common-law partner — but said in June 2017 they no longer had confidence in that information. Marsman is also originally from Nova Scotia
Downey is scheduled to appear in court in Calgary on July 20. He will remain in custody until that date.
He was also ordered to have no contact with Colin Marsman.
- An earlier version of this story, citing sources, said Colin Marsman shared a gang connection with Edward Downey. However, CBC News is no longer confident in the information provided by those sources.Jun 22, 2017 5:27 PM AT
With files from Meghan Grant in Calgary