The search for Calgarians Jasmine Lovett, 25, and her 22-month-old daughter Aliyah Sanderson has ended with a tragic conclusion.
At roughly 4 a.m., May 6, investigators found the bodies of Lovett and Sanderson in the Grizzly Creek area of Kananaskis Country. The discovery ended a nearly three-week search that began after Lovett and Sanderson had been reported missing April 23, after failing to show up to a family dinner.
Calgary Police Service (CPS) Staff Sgt. Martin Schiavetta provided an update to media in a CPS press conference May 6.
“On behalf of the entire police service, we would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to the Lovett and Sanderson families,” he said. “Jasmine would have celebrated her 26th birthday last week, and this is truly a tragic loss.”
According to Schiavetta, CPS believes Lovett and Sanderson were killed either April 16 or 17, and the killer transported their bodies to the Grizzly Creek area between then and April 20.
The same day the bodies were located, Calgary resident Robert Leeming was arrested and charged with two counts of second-degree murder. According to Schiavetta, the 34-year-old was Lovett’s landlord and roommate.
“We believe the suspect and Jasmine were in a relationship and this was a targeted attack, motivated by domestic-related matters,” Schiavetta said.
Leeming is currently being held at the Calgary Remand Centre. His first court appearance is scheduled for May 14.
At one point, data from a cell tower led investigators to the Bragg Creek area, according to an April 27 update from CPS. The search for evidence in the hamlet was hampered for several days by heavy snowfall.
“The investigative process picked up momentum over the last few days, which led us to locating the bodies early this morning [May 6],” Schiavetta said, adding CPS received more than 250 tips from the public during the investigation. “The area where the bodies were located did not have as much snow as the Bragg Creek area.”
CPS will continue to collect evidence, he added.
“If anyone was in the Grizzly Creek recreational area between Wednesday, April 17 and Sunday, April 21, and noticed anything suspicious, or a grey Mercedes SUV, we would still like to speak to you,” he said. “Please call the Homicide Tip Unit Hotline at 403-428-8877, or provide tips anonymously through CrimeStoppers.”
The Lovett family released a statement May 6, expressing gratitude to police and those who helped during the extensive search.
"We would also like to thank the public for their continued support, which has meant a great deal to us," the statement read. "Our lives have been devastated and our hearts are heavy. We are trying to understand how this tragedy could have happened to our loved ones."
With the case now before the court, Schiavetta said, no further information will be released related to the cause of death, motive or how the bodies were located.
“This has been a lengthy and complex investigation,” he said. “Please keep in mind our primary goal at this point is to see this case through to conclusion in court. To do that successfully, we must maintain the integrity of the evidence and limit what information is shared publicly, from this point on.”