The man accused of killing a five-year-old girl and her mother has a criminal record that includes convictions tied to weapons, drugs and prostitution, according to court documents in Calgary.
Edward Delten Downey's criminal history in Alberta reaches back to at least 1990, beginning with a fine for stealing a credit card and escalating from there. Now he faces two counts of first-degree murder: one tied to Taliyah Leigh Marsman and the second to her 34-year-old mother, Sara Baillie. Police believe he knew both the child and Ms. Baillie.
Mr. Downey, 46, is in custody and has been ordered not to communicate, either directly or indirectly, with Taliyah's father, Colin Marsman, according to court documents. Mr. Marsman and Ms. Baillie are estranged and police say they had a history of domestic violence.
The Calgary Police Service believes Mr. Downey and Mr. Marsman, 37, know each other. Mr. Marsman, who co-operated with police in the three-day search for Taliyah, insisted in an interview with CTV News that he does not know the accused. Police have not disclosed why they believe Mr. Downey knows Mr. Marsman, Ms. Baillie and Taliyah.
The murder charges against Mr. Downey have not been tested in court. He occasionally uses Simmonds as a surname, police said.
Police found Ms. Baillie dead in her basement suite on Monday evening. Taliyah was missing and officials issued an Amber Alert on Tuesday at about 1:40 a.m. Calgary police took Mr. Downey into custody on Wednesday evening and say he was unco-operative. Investigators found what they believe to be Taliyah's body on Thursday evening in a rural area east of Calgary. Police then pressed charges against Mr. Downey.
Mr. Downey in 2008 was convicted of two charges tied to trafficking in cocaine, one charge of possessing an excess of three kilograms of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking, and one count of possessing a handgun without a licence, according to court records. He was sentenced to four years in prison, with a recommendation that the time be served at the penitentiary in Bowden, Alta., according to court documents. It is not known how much time he served or where he did the time.
He was also sentenced in 1998 to 18 months for abetting prostitution, court records show. Mr. Downey's adult criminal record appears to have started in 1990, when he faced a $250 fine related to a stolen credit card.
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Scores of charges against Mr. Downey have also been withdrawn over the years. The withdrawn charges are tied to weapons, drugs, prostitution and obstructing a peace officer. In 2012, officials withdrew a charge relating to cocaine possession. That appears to be the most recent court filing, aside from the murder charges laid on Thursday. As well, he and a woman defaulted on a mortgage, documents show.
Mr. Downey is scheduled to appear in court on July 20 via closed circuit television. He remains in custody.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, both in Calgary for the Stampede, offered their condolences.
"We all need to take a moment to send our love and hearts out to Taliyah and Sara's family," Mr. Trudeau said. "There were so many volunteers and police services involved in trying to help a terrible situation."
"In the face of such senseless and tragic loss we reach out with love and with a desire to help each other," Ms. Notley said.
Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi simply said: "Our hearts are all broken."
The investigation started Monday when Ms. Baillie did not show up for work. Police found her body after being called to her home at about 8:30 p.m. Witnesses later told police they believe they saw a child who looked like Taliyah with an unknown "stocky, black" man on Monday at 11:30 a.m.
Calgary police now believe the little girl was killed before police were called to Ms. Baillie's residence Monday evening.
"The timeline of events through the investigation would suggest that both events occurred prior to police involvement on Monday," Inspector Don Coleman said Thursday evening. "We believe that this incident had concluded sometime [Monday] afternoon."
With a report from The Canadian Press