WARNING: Some of the details and pictures in this story are graphic and may be disturbing to readers.
Family and friends of Sara Baillie and Taliyah Marsman broke down and some left the courtroom as the officer who found Taliyah testified on Friday.
Friday was the fifth day of evidence in the double-murder trial of Edward Downey. There has been sobbing in the courtroom every day.
Downey has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the deaths of the mother and daughter.
Const. Karl Sudyk said he became the manager in charge of the search for Taliyah on July 14, 2016.
Her mother was found dead inside of their northwest Calgary home July 11, 2016, and there was an Amber Alert issued for Taliyah.
The prosecution has said Calgary police used cellphone tower pings to map Downey’s movements — and that provided a map for searchers to follow.
Sudyk said near the end of the day, he and his partner took a drive to try and figure out where to search the next day.
The officers made several stops.
As they drove down Township Road 250 off Highway 791, Sudyk said he noticed a spot near a farmer’s field where there was a break in some bushes.
He said they drove up and he got out to take a look. That’s when the officer made an horrific discovery.
“I saw the body of a young girl,” he said. “I yelled, ‘Taliyah.'”
Watch below – Nov. 29: ‘It was a body’: Graphic evidence from first responder given in 4th day of Calgary double murder trial
Sudyk said the little girl didn’t respond. She was lying about 15-feet in front of him.
He took a closer look, and said there were flies around her face.
The Crown said it’s their theory Taliyah’s killer took her and murdered her because she was a witness to her mother’s death.
On Friday morning, a Calgary police crime scenes investigator told jurors she found three partial fingerprints on duct tape that bound Sara — two that matched the accused.
Court heard Sgt. Jodi Arns is an expert in “friction ridge prints,” more commonly known as fingerprints, toe prints or palm prints.
She said she has collected this type of evidence thousands of times.
On July 13, 2016, Arns attended the autopsy of Sara Baillie specifically to collect the duct tape that bound her.
Autopsy photos were shown to jurors, as well as the actual tape.
“Both of her wrists are sort of crossed, and the tape is wrapped around both wrists,” she said.
She testified the tape was wrapped around Sara’s face and neck several times.
Arns said it was on that tape from Sara’s lower jaw and head, on the sticky side, that she located three partial prints.
Arns said there was a sense of urgency to get her forensic examination of the tape finished.
“There was still an Amber Alert in place,” Arns said.
Taliyah was still missing.
Arns told court two of the partial fingerprints she found on the tape were a match to the accused, Downey.
She said both fingerprints were from his left forefinger and were left on the sticky side of the duct tape where it was torn.
Arns took jurors through a detailed description of how she did her analysis using a PowerPoint presentation.
She said she came to her conclusions by comparing ridges on the unknown fingerprint to the “known” fingerprint of Downey.
Arns said her findings were sealed, and then another officer did a completely independent examination. Both findings were sent to their unit commander to make sure the results matched.
Court heard it was concluded the two partial prints came back as a match to Downey.
On Thursday, Calgary police Const. Bradley Nykoluk described the moment he found Sara’s body hidden in a laundry hamper in Taliyah’s closet.
An autopsy revealed she died of asphyxiation.
It was three days later that Taliyah was found outside of the city limits.
The trial is scheduled for three weeks.
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