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Canada Calgary murder suspect had ties to prostitution, drug trade

Mourners gather at a vigil for Sara Baillie and her five-year-old daughter, Taliyah Marsman, in Calgary on Sunday.


The man accused of murdering a five-year-old child and her mother in Calgary relied for years on prostitution and the drug trade to support himself, according to parole documents.

Edward Delten Downey, charged with killing Taliyah Leigh Marsman and her 34-year-old mother, Sara Baillie, was imprisoned after convictions tied to drugs and firearms nearly a decade ago. Authorities believed he was connected to street gangs, and accused him of being the "the muscle" in an illegal tobacco operation while behind bars, according to Parole Board of Canada documents.

Mr. Downey's federal sentence started in January, 2008. He was granted full parole in May, 2010, according to parole board documents.

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"Over all, you have relied on the use of prostitution and drug trafficking to support yourself; have been been found in possession of loaded firearms and knives and sizable quantities of illicit drugs suggesting entrenched involvement in the illicit drug business on a commercial scale," the documents said.

"It is evident that you have lived a criminally entrenched lifestyle during this time, choosing to rely on criminal means to support yourself rather than find and keep legitimate employment."

Calgary Police Service on July 14 charged Mr. Downey with murdering Taliyah and Ms. Baillie. Mr. Downey is scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday by closed-circuit television. He has been ordered not to contact Taliyah's father, Colin Marsman, directly or indirectly.

Mr. Marsman, who was estranged from Ms. Baillie, told CTV News in an interview last week he does not know the suspect; police believe otherwise. Investigators are confident Mr. Downey knew Taliyah and Ms. Baillie. They believe Mr. Downey targeted Ms. Baillie, a dance mom who worked at an airport restaurant. Ms. Baillie was found dead in her Calgary basement suite on July 11; what CPS believes to be Taliyah's body was found in a rural area east of the city on July 14. CPS has not revealed what they believe to be Mr. Downey's motive or how the victims were killed.

Mr. Downey, who is now 46, conceded he made money off women in the sex trade, according to the parole documents.

"There is evidence you have been involved as a 'pimp' and have 'run' prostitutes," authorities wrote in a 2008 parole document. "You have previously denied this involvement but with the Board today you admitted to this activity.

"Living on the avails of prostitution brings with it a certain amount of threatening/intimidating control over women, although you continue to maintain that you did not behave in this [way] when involved in that business," the document said. Mr. Downey "had a 19-year-old girlfriend work as a prostitute and after she paid" him she was able to contact police, the documents said, providing details on charges authorities had withdrawn. "At the time of your arrest, you were in possession of a .45 calibre handgun. There is indication that you had threatened this victim in the past and physically assaulted her."

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Mr. Downey was born in Dartmouth, N.S., the documents said. He has two siblings and had a "positive upbringing" devoid of physical or substance abuse. According to 2010 documents, he completed Grade 11 before quitting school to work.

Mr. Downey said he had four children who resided with their mothers at the time of his 2010 parole application. He was not paying child support. He was then in a common-law relationship with an unidentified woman. He worked as a truck driver when he was granted day parole in the fall of 2009, helping his common-law wife with her business, the documents show. The unidentified woman and one of his sisters gave him "strong community support," the documents read.

The results from Mr. Downey's Spousal Assault Risk Assessment indicated he presented "a moderate risk of violence to a partner and a low risk of violence towards others." A 2008 test found he had trouble solving problems, identifying consequences and in "self-regulation," according to the documents.

Mr. Downey was granted full parole in the spring of 2010. He was denied access to greater freedom in 2008 because officials believed, if released, he was likely to commit violent offences before the end of his four-year sentence.

Citing one of his program facilitators, the 2010 parole document said Mr. Downey "made significant progress in managing [his] risk factors and demonstrated an improved ability to identify high risk situations."

Funerals for Taliyah and Ms. Baillie will take place on Thursday.

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With reports from Jana G. Pruden in Edmonton

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