Calgary police say they are treating the disappearance of a woman and her young daughter as potential homicides and that a suspect they have arrested knows the pair.
Jasmine Lovett, 25, and 22-month-old Aliyah Sanderson were last seen in the suburban community of Cranston in southeast Calgary on the evening of April 16.
They were reported missing a week later, after failing to show up for a family dinner, Staff Sgt. Martin Schiavetta told a news conference Thursday.
He said it’s uncharacteristic for Lovett to be out of touch with her family for that long.
Investigators looked into the mother’s social media as well as heath care, phone and banking records, he said.
“After conducting all those searches, we have not found any footprints of life and this leads us to believe that there is no evidence to support that our victims are alive.”
An online purchase was made from Lovett’s bank account on April 18, but Schiavetta said officers have been unable to determine whether she was the one who made it or where the item was delivered.
Police have been in touch with Aliyah’s biological father, who is not the suspect, and he is being co-operative, Schiavetta said.
The incident is not believed to be random.
Schiavetta said the suspect was arrested in Cranston around 11 a.m. Thursday and knows the mother and daughter, but he would not say how.
The suspect is also known to police, he added. No charges have been laid.
A vehicle was seized in Cranston, but Schiavetta did not say whose it was or provide the make and model.
He added that the only time police were called to Lovett’s home was the day after she and her daughter were reported missing. He declined to say whether anything inside the home was amiss.
No Amber Alert was issued for Aliyah, he said, because there was no indication she had been abducted.
Investigators are searching a home in Cranston and the area surrounding the hamlet of Bragg Creek, located west of the city, for evidence.
Schiavetta said Lovett and Aliyah have no known connection to Bragg Creek, but that cellphone activity drew them to that location in the Rocky Mountain foothills.
People in Bragg Creek have been asked to report anything suspicious they may have seen between April 16 and April 23.
“Sometimes it’s the smallest piece of evidence that can assist the investigation,” Schiavetta said.
He said many investigators working on this case also worked on the high-profile double murder of a Calgary mother and young girl in 2016. A jury found Edward Downey guilty last year of first-degree murder in the deaths of Sara Baillie and her five-year-old daughter Taliyah Marsman.
“Obviously any investigation involving a child is extremely difficult. A lot of the members within the homicide unit have children themselves.”