News Provincial

Calgary Amber Alert

Taliyah Marsman's alleged murderer has criminal history of drugs, prostitution, guns

By Yolande Cole, Kevin Martin, Postmedia Network

The suspect facing two first-degree murder charges in connection with the deaths of Taliyah Marsman and her mother Sara Baillie has a criminal record in Alberta going back to 1990.

Police announced the charges against Edward Downey, 46, late Thursday night after officers recovered what they believe is Taliyah’s body in a field east of Calgary.

According to court records, Downey was fined $250 on July 16, 1990, for possession of a stolen credit card, while a charge of obstructing a peace officer was withdrawn.

On Feb. 3, 1998, Downey was sentenced to 18 months jail for aiding and abetting prostitution. Three prostitution-related charged were withdrawn at the same time.

On Jan. 29, 2008, Downey received a total sentence of four years on a firearm and drug charges.

He pleaded guilty to a Sept. 14, 2006, charge from Medicine Hat of possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking, as well as two charges of trafficking cocaine in Calgary on June 28, 2006, and a Sept. 15, 2006, charge out of Calgary for possessing a firearm without being the licence holder.

The Crown also withdrew 10 other drug and firearms-related charges at the time.

Most recently a March 14, 2012, allegation that he was in possession of cocaine was withdrawn three months later.

Investigators searched Downey’s home in the SkyView area in northeast Calgary Thursday night. On Friday morning, the townhouse complex was quiet, with one police car monitoring the unit.

Related: Albertans share grief as police continue grim search for evidence

Also: Our complete coverage of Taliyah Marsman's disappearance

Martin Ryer, a neighbour at the complex, said Friday morning that his girlfriend has seen Downey walking out of his home with a young boy that appeared to be his son. Ryer added he hasn’t seen anything suspicious in the area.

On Thursday night, neighbour Jill Grindle, 38, told Postmedia that police had been there since the early hours of Thursday morning, asking residents if they’d seen a grey sedan captured in CCTV footage in the Panorama area around the time Taliyah went missing.

Grindle also said she’d seen the car and a man matching the description of the suspect, in the immediate area, and police had been to that area of the neighbourhood before.

“I have a five-year-old,” she said. “It’s terrifying.”

Friday morning, police continued to scan the field where the body was recovered for any evidence. Insp. Don Coleman with the Calgary Police Service said Thursday night that Downey is currently the only suspect in connection with the investigation.

Police believe that Sara Baillie and her daughter Taliyah both knew Downey.

Coleman said police now believe Taliyah was dead before officers were contacted Monday evening.

Baillie’s body was recovered at approximately 8:30 p.m. Monday and an Amber Alert was issued for Taliyah about five hours later.

Downey appeared briefly before a justice of the peace Thursday, who ordered Downey to have no contact with Taliyah’s father, Colin Marsman.

Downey, who police say occasionally goes by the last name Simmonds, will be back in court next Wednesday on the murder charges.


— With files from Emma McIntosh

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