Global News has learned the identity of the young boy whose body was found in northwest Edmonton Friday afternoon.
Family has identified the toddler as one-year-old Anthony Joseph Raine.
The boy’s aunt, Brandi Raine, posted photos of the toddler on a memorial page on social media.
“(It’s) the worst pain of her life,” said Raine about how her sister, the boy’s mother, took the news when Edmonton police officers knocked on her door late Saturday night. Raine said the young boy was staying with his biological father.
“He played a big role in all of our lives,” she said. “He was always happy, he always smiled, he always made everyone else smile.”
The toddler’s body was discovered next to Good Shepherd Anglican Church Friday afternoon.
Investigators believe the boy was left in the area of 155 Avenue and Castledowns Road on Tuesday between 10:51 and 11:51 a.m.
Police arrested two people in relation to the toddler’s death on Saturday. A 26-year-old man and a 25-year-old woman, who family told Global News is not the boy’s mother, have been taken into custody and police say charges are pending against both individuals as they work to determine the exact relationship between the pair and the young boy.
Church officials said a vigil for the toddler is being planned for later this week. Details are expected on Monday.
An autopsy has also been scheduled for Monday morning.
The boy’s family has created a GoFundMe page to help cover the costs of a funeral for Anthony.
Edmonton police have arrested a man and a woman in the case of a toddler whose body was found outside a church on the north side of the city.
A police statement issued Saturday night said the two were arrested without incident in northwest Edmonton earlier in the evening, that they were in police custody, and that charges were pending against both individuals.
The statement said investigators were working to determine the exact relationship between the suspects and the little boy, who was estimated to be about 20 months old.
Police did not publicly identify the suspects, however, they indicated they would have more to say about the investigation sometime Sunday.
Earlier Saturday police released grainy surveillance video pictures of a man and woman they were looking for in connection with the case. The pictures showed the two pushing a stroller as they entered a store.
Investigators have said they believe the boy’s body was left near the Good Shepherd Anglican Church on Tuesday morning, three days before it was found by a passerby on Friday.
Police did not say in their statement whether they had identified the child.
An autopsy has been scheduled for Monday morning to determine how the toddler died.
In the statement issued Saturday night the Edmonton Police Service thanked the many people it said contacted them with tips, adding that no more would be necessary.
The sad case has triggered an outpouring of emotion in the city.
“My heart just really aches to think of this thing happening,” said Marryman Porter, who attended a bake sale and lunch held Saturday at the Good Shepherd Anglican Church.
People also stopped by to leave flowers and a teddy bear at the place where the child’s body was discovered.
One woman, after laying flowers, hugged another women she’d arrived with, her eyes welling with tears.
The Edmonton Police Service is looking for the public’s assistance in identifying two people of interest in connection with the death of a toddler.
Homicide investigators are releasing three photos (below) of a man and woman of interest, in hopes of identifying both of them, as police believe they may have information critical to this investigation.
People of interest to police
People of interest to police (2)
People of interest to police (3)
Police also believe the little boy was left in the area of 155 Avenue and Castledowns Road on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 between 10:51-11:51 a.m.. Investigators are urging anyone who may have witnessed anything suspicious in the area, during this specific timeline, to contact police immediately.
An autopsy has been scheduled for Monday morning at 9:30 a.m. (April 24, 2017). The toddler has yet to be identified.
No additional information is available for release at this time.
Homicide detectives are asking anyone who may recognize either of these two people of interest, or who has information about this suspicious death, to contact the EPS at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone. Anonymous information can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at www.tipsubmit.com/start.htm.
The Edmonton Police Service is looking to the public for assistance in identifying a deceased toddler who was located this afternoon (April 21, 2017) in northwest Edmonton.
At approximately 2:30 p.m. today, police were called to the area of 155 Avenue and Castledowns Road, after a passerby located the body of a deceased male toddler near a church.
In attempts to identify the deceased, investigators are releasing photos of the toddler’s clothing and shoes which were located at the scene. Investigators are encouraging anyone who may recognize any of the items to contact police immediately.
Side view of shoe
Front of shoe
An autopsy is pending.
Homicide Section continues to investigate.
Homicide detectives are asking anyone who may recognize any of the items in the photos, or who has information about this suspicious death, to contact the EPS at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone. Anonymous information can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at www.tipsubmit.com/start.htm.
Please contact Cheryl Sheppard at (780) 421-2671 for more information.