CALGARY — Police in Calgary believe they have found the bodies of a missing woman and toddler who were reported missing nearly two weeks ago.
The suspected remains of Jasmine Lovett, 25, and her 22-month-old daughter, Aliyah Sanderson, were found about 4 a.m. Monday in a heavily wooded part of Kananaskis Country, a wilderness area on the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains.
“To protect the integrity of this investigation and future court proceedings, we are unable to release details about what lead to the discovery of the bodies,” police said in a news release.
They said officers rearrested a man they briefly took into custody two weeks ago, but are not identifying him until charges are laid. That was expected to happen later Monday or Tuesday.
Robert Leeming, 34, previously told media outlets that he was the one police questioned and that Lovett and the child lived in his southeast Calgary home.
He has said he is innocent.
Autopsies were to begin Monday, but the cause of death was not expected to be released.
Lovett and the girl were last seen April 16. Police said an online purchase from Lovett’s account was made two days later, but they don’t know if she’s the one who made it.
The pair were reported missing after they failed to show up for a family dinner.
“Our lives have been devastated and our hearts are heavy,” the Lovett family said in a statement released by police.
“We are trying to understand how this tragedy could have happened to our loved ones.”
Josie Sanderson, the child’s paternal aunt, said she had been hoping Aliyah and Lovett would be found, while at the same time bracing for the worst.
Sanderson, who lives in St. Catharines, Ont., never met her niece in person, but would regularly video chat with her.
“I never got to actually hug her, kiss her,” Sanderson said Monday.
“I know she’s in heaven right now. What a waste of such a precious life.”
She said her brother Robbie Sanderson, the girl’s father, is overcome with grief.
He and Lovett broke up several months ago and Lovett moved in with another man, who the aunt said she understands is Leeming.
Court records show Leeming was fined a total of $5,000 last year for three animal protection offences under provincial legislation.
A sworn affidavit from his estranged wife, as part of their divorce case, claims that a peace officer found their dog, Axel, tied to a tree without food or water. The wife said the animal had been left there for four days.
The wife also cited numerous occasions where she believed Leeming was stalking her. In the document, she said she feared for her safety, and that of their child.
“The plaintiff has emotionally destroyed me during our relationship … He was cruel and intimated things that caused me to fear for our lives at the end of our relationship,” she said.
An affidavit from Leeming said his wife has “always suffered from mental health issues” and that she physically assaulted him “on a number of occasions.”