Amber alert issued for Calgary girl

Family of Taliyah Leigh Marsman tearfully plea for her safe return

  • Jul. 12, 2016 3:00 p.m.



Distraught family members are pleading for the safe return of a five-year-old Calgary girl whose mother was found dead in the basement suite where the two lived.

Scott Hamilton, uncle of the slain woman, is asking whomever has Taliyah Leigh Marsman to drop her off at a police station, a grocery story, a gas station _ or anywhere else. He says the family will pick her up and no questions will be asked.

Police issued an Amber Alert overnight for the girl.

Hamilton says the child’s mother, Sara Baillie, was pretty much single-handedly raising Taliyah, who he described as much more mature than her five years.

He also said a deep bond existed between mother and child.

“Inseparable,” he said of the two. “Taliyah referred to Sara as Mama and it wasn’t necessarily like a mother-daughter relationship. It was almost like watching two sisters at times get along.

“Sara worshiped Taliyah. The times that we saw them interact was marvellous. It was a very awesome relationship to see between a mother and daughter.”

Hamilton described Taliyah as “a vivacious, wonderful child, curious.”

She liked playing on her iPad and Hamilton’s wife, Marilynne, had recently taught Taliyah to ride a bicycle.

“The bicycle sits in our garage waiting for her to come back,” he said, his voice breaking.

Police say they aren’t ruling anything out in their search for the little girl.

“We have all the faith in the world that Taliyah will be found safe. Somebody who knows where she is, is going to step up and do the right thing,” Insp. Don Coleman said following the family’s news conference Tuesday.

He said police have been flooded with tips, as well as with offers of help from other agencies.

Police say they aren’t ruling anything out in their search for a missing five-year-old whose mother was found dead.

Insp. Don Coleman says that includes the possibility that Taliyah Leigh Marsman was dropped off with someone who has yet to realize the girl is the subject of an Amber Alert.

“Anything’s possible, including that whoever may have committed the offence and taken Taliyah has dropped her off with other people, and those other people may not know that Taliyah’s mother has been the victim of a homicide,” Coleman said at a news conference Tuesday morning.

Coleman said family members last saw the girl Sunday morning. They became concerned when Taliyah’s mother, who has not been identified by police, didn’t show up to work and went to her home to check on her Monday evening.

“Family members went to the residence. She wasn’t there. Neither was Taliyah,” Coleman said. “Subsequently police were called. Patrol officers attended the residence and the deceased was located in the home.”

Coleman said their were no signs someone forced their way into the home.

An Amber Alert was issued overnight.

Coleman said Taliyah’s father is estranged from her mother.

“We’ve spoken with him. He is co-operating with the investigation.”

He said the couple was known to police.

“There is limited domestic history both reported and unreported,” Coleman said. “Domestic violence.”

Taliyah is described as a mixed-race child with a slim build, brown curly hair and brown eyes.

The mother’s car police initially said may have been connected to the disappearance was found not far from the home. It was seized by forensic investigators.

Coleman said he is not convinced a stranger was involved in the alleged abduction.

“That’s all part of the witness interviews and interviewing family to try and figure out who may have been coming and going from the residence, any relationships that she may have had. There is a whole host of investigative avenues to cover off in a short period of time,” he said.

“Our primary focus is the safe return of Taliyah.”