Taliyah Leigh Marsman just learned to ride a bike. She likes to play on her iPad. Now, the five-year-old is missing and her mother, Sara Baillie, was found dead in their home Monday.
Ms. Baillie's aunt and uncle, flanked by a handful of friends and family crying and hugging, on Tuesday begged for Taliyah's return. The child, described as mixed race with a slim build and curly brown hair, was last seen in Calgary on Sunday morning.
"Please return her. Drop her off at an RCMP station, Calgary Police Service station, or a grocery store, gas station, wherever you want," Scott Hamilton, Ms. Baillie's uncle, said at a press conference. "Contact the family – we'll come and pick her up. There will be no questions asked.
"We love her, we miss her, and we want her back."
Calgary Police are treating Ms. Baillie's death as a homicide. She was estranged from Taliyah's father. He is "co-operating" with police, Inspector Don Coleman told reporters.
He would neither confirm nor deny whether the child's father is a suspect, instead saying police have not yet labelled anyone as such. There were no signs of forced entry into Ms. Baillie's basement apartment in Calgary's northwest, he said.
Police found Ms. Baillie dead around 8:30 p.m. on Monday and issued a province-wide Amber Alert for her daughter at 1:40 a.m. Tuesday. Ms. Baillie's family went to her home when she did not show up for work, Calgary Police said. The family called police after they could find neither her nor her daughter. Police, however, found the victim in the home.
"It is a suspicious death. We believe this to be a homicide," Insp. Coleman said. Investigators will not confirm whether they found a weapon or how Ms. Baillie may have died. Insp. Coleman said he is not convinced strangers snatched the missing girl.
Insp. Coleman said the couple was known to police. "There is limited domestic history both reported and unreported," he said. "Domestic violence."
Court documents show Ms. Baillie was the complainant in a case with a man identified as Colin Evan Marsman.
Justice officials say Mr. 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 But the charges were withdrawn March 2.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 that same day.
Ms. Baillie was in her mid-30s, police said. Officers found her vehicle, a white 2016 Ford Fusion, in the Panorama neighbourhood where she lived. Scores of police officers were canvassing the area Tuesday, asking neighbours for information.
Marilynne Hamilton, Ms. Baillie's aunt, used the press conference to send a message to the missing girl.
"Taliyah, honey, if you're watching this, we love you. Stay strong, honey," she said through sobs. "Please, if you have Taliyah, please let her come home to her family."
The girl used to watch cartoons and have sleepovers at the Hamiltons' home.
"Marilynne has just recently taught her to ride a bicycle," Mr. Hamilton said. "The bicycle sits in our garage waiting for her to come back."
He added: "She would sleep with Marilynne and I until I snored too much and then I would have to leave the bed."
The five-year-old called her mother "Mama," Mr. Hamilton said. "Taliyah was Sara's world. … Sara was a hard-working single mother and doing the very best that she could with what she had."
The man who owns the house where Ms. Baille and her daughter lived said they moved into the apartment on May 1 and were good tenants.
Olumuyiwa Dada said he did not see or hear anything in the downstairs unit.
He said he has never met the five-year-old's father.
The last time he saw his tenants was last week when they were coming home with groceries, he said.
"No stress. No problems," Mr. Dada said.
With a report from The Canadian Press