Police find bodies believed to be of missing Calgary woman, child
Published Monday, May 6, 2019 3:00PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, May 6, 2019 9:56PM EDT
After what they called a “lengthy and complex investigation,” Calgary police believe they have located the bodies of a missing woman and her 22-month-old daughter, and taken a suspect into custody.
Authorities said in a statement that they found the bodies, believed to be that of Jasmine Lovett, 25, and her daughter, Aliyah Sanderson, in a heavily wooded area at around 4 a.m. on Monday near Grizzly Creek, Calgary.
Police said that a suspect has been arrested and is facing second-degree murder charges for each victim.
“We were, you know, certainly satisfied to locate the bodies,” Staff Sgt. Martin Schiavetta said in a press conference on Monday. “But at the same time, it’s obviously a very sad feeling when you have to notify the families of that.”
He expressed his condolences to the family.
Schiavetta said that police believe the suspect and Lovett were in a relationship and that the murder was “motivated by domestic-related matters.”
Lovett and Aliyah lived in a townhouse with their 34-year-old landlord, Robert Leeming. Last week, he told reporters that he was arrested and taken into custody on April 25th and then released the following day without charges.
“Who says that they’re dead? That’s crazy,” he told reporters at the time. “I don’t know where they are and that’s the biggest thing.”
Leeming, a British citizen with permanent residency status in Canada, said that Aliyah was “a great kid” and that he had no issues with her or Lovett.
Police would not name the suspect today. They said it is the same man who was taken into custody two weeks ago.
Lovett and Aliyah have not been seen since April 16. They were reported missing one week later, after failing to show up at a family dinner.
Schiavetta said that police believe Lovett and Aliyah were killed late on April 16 or during the early morning hours of April 17, before they were transported to the Grizzly Creek area – approximately 100 metres off the highway – between April 17 and April 20.
Police vehicles and officers have been going in and out of the wooded area, taking photos and gathering evidence. A drone belonging to the collision reconstruction unit took video from above.
In a statement, Lovett’s family thanked the Calgary Police Service and the public for their work in trying to locate Lovett and Aliyah.
“Our lives have been devastated and our hearts are heavy,” the family said. “We are trying to understand how this tragedy could have happened to our loved ones.”
Police said last week that they never issued an Amber Alert for the child because the situation did not meet the requirements to issue an alert.
They also said that they had been in touch with Aliyah’s father, who is not the suspect.
In the Calgary community where the young mother and daughter lived, a neighbour was shattered by the news.
“It’s awful. I can’t believe it,” she said. “I have a young daughter – 18 months old – and it’s just so devastating to think about.”
Police said that the autopsies have already started and that they are not looking for any other suspects.