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Family makes tearful plea for return of missing five-year-old Taliyah Marsman

Calgary Herald logo Calgary Herald 2016-07-12 Yolande Cole & Clara Ho, Calgary Herald

Taliyah Leigh Marsman, 5, is believed to have been abducted by an unknown person in northwest Calgary. An Amber Alert has been issued. © Calgary Police Service Taliyah Leigh Marsman, 5, is believed to have been abducted by an unknown person in northwest Calgary. An Amber Alert has been issued. Family members of missing girl Taliyah Leigh Marsman made a tearful plea for her return Tuesday, urging whoever has the five-year-old to return her.

Marsman is the subject of an AMBER Alert after her mom, Sara Baillie, was found dead in a northwest Calgary home on Monday evening.

Two of Baillie’s family members — uncle Scott Hamilton and aunt Marilynne Hamilton — described Taliyah as a “vivacious, wonderful child.”

“Taliyah, honey, if you’re watching this, we love you,” Marilynne Hamilton said. “Stay strong.”

Scott Hamilton said the five-year-old was “Sara’s world.” 

He said the victim was a hard-working single mother, and that she and her daughter were “inseparable.”

“We love her and we miss her,” he said.

Marsman has many interests, he added, including riding her bicycle, a skill her aunt recently taught her. 

“The bicycle sits in our garage waiting for her to come back,” he said tearfully, backed by a large group of family and friends.

Around 8:30 p.m. on Monday, family members called police after they were unable to reach Baillie, who was in her 30s. They found her dead inside her home, in the 1000 block of Panamount Boulevard N.W.

Around 1:40 a.m. on Tuesday, an AMBER Alert was issued for Taliyah. She’s described as mixed race with a slim build, curly hair and blue eyes. Her whereabouts remain unknown.

Baillie’s landlord, Olumuyiwa Dada, said the woman and her daughter moved in to a basement suite in the Panorama Hills house on May 1. He described them as very good tenants.

He added the news came as a shock. 

“I’m really feeling down,” he said. “I only see things like this on the TV.”

Keisha Meas and Shayla Do, two babysitters of the little girl, were in the neighbourhood Tuesday morning putting up posters with her photo.

Do, who last saw Marsman a couple of months ago, said Marsman is a fun and caring person. 

“She laughs a lot and she gives a lot of hugs,” she said. “She’s like a little sister to me.”

Meas has been babysitting the girl since she was two years old. She described Marsman as “a happy kid.”

“She’s always dancing and loving and caring,” she said. “She likes to love people, and she’s really good at making new friends.”

She said the girl’s mother, too, was “a loving person.”

“She would always make me smile and happy,” Meas said.

“If something’s wrong with somebody, she would be there and she would care for you and tell you everything’s OK.”

Insp. Don Coleman with the Calgary police major crimes section said at this point, investigators are not ruling out anyone as a suspect. He said police have received tips from the public and offers of help from other police agencies. 

CPS are treating this as a homicide investigation, but the medical examiner’s office has not made that determination yet, said Coleman. An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.

“Somebody out there knows where Taliyah is, and that person or those people need to do the right thing,” he said. “Step up and make that happen.”

The girl’s father, Colin Marsman – who also goes by Colin Paris – is believed to be estranged. Coleman said police have spoken to him and he is cooperating with the investigation.

While neither of the parents is known to police, Coleman said there is a limited history of domestic violence, both reported and unreported.

According to court documents, Marsman was charged with unlawful confinement and intimidation for preventing Baillie from using her cell phone to call police in connection with a Feb. 1, 2015, incident.

Those charges were later withdrawn and he agreed to enter into a peace bond last March with conditions, including having no contact with Baillie except by text through a third party to access his child.

Under the peace bond, he was also ordered to participate in and complete counselling, treatment or programming for substance abuse, domestic violence. and anger management, and was banned from buying, possessing, using or consuming intoxicating substances, including alcohol and non-prescription drugs.

He was also prohibited from entering any business whose main business was the sale of alcohol, and prohibited from owning, possessing or carrying weapons – including knives – except for preparing and eating food and for work.

Coleman said the woman didn’t show up to work Monday, so family members contacted police and the victim was found in the home. The AMBER alert extends provincewide, but police say there is nothing to suggest that the five-year-old is outside Calgary.

“We’re not ruling out any possibilities, including that she may be in the care of somebody right now and been dropped off and that person or those people may not know what’s transpired,” said Coleman.

Baillie worked at the Chili’s Texas Grill at the Calgary International Airport, according to colleagues, who did not want to be named. They said support was being offered to grieving staff.

Police say they’re speaking with witnesses and persons of interest in relation to the incident. The investigation is ongoing.

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

Anyone with information is asked to call 403-532-6237.

With files from Kevin Martin


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