Community of Hinton, Alta., mourns loss of mother and her 16-month-old

Jerry Melvin, a resident of Hinton for 65 years, gently placed a teddy bear at a growing makeshift memorial outside an apartment complex in the community Sunday afternoon.

A woman living there, along with her 16-month-old toddler, were killed this week.

Around 6 p.m. Thursday, officers responded to a report that a woman and her toddler were missing. Friday evening RCMP said in a news release that the woman and her child were later found dead.

Robert Keith Major, 53, of Hinton, faces two counts of second-degree murder and one count of indignity to human remains.

RCMP confirmed to CTV News Edmonton that Major is a convicted sexual offender. The Edmonton Police Service said in a media release in 2017 that it had “reasonable grounds” to believe he would commit “another sexual offence against a female, including children.”

Investigators say Major lived in the same apartment complex as the woman and her child.

Minesh Kadam lived in that same apartment complex for a year. He was coming home after finishing a shift from work when he saw the complex surrounded by police as they investigated.

“The police barricaded the whole thing,” he shared.

For Kadam, the incident shocked him.

“It’s a tragic incident, like too much to digest,” he said. “It’s too much.

“No one could imagine that,” he added. “It’s a small town.”

Kadam said once he saw the picture of the person in police custody, he immediately recognized him.

“He used to live right across our balcony,” he said. “Whenever we used to go for a smoke, we used to see him and he would wave at us.”

For Melvin, there are no words to describe the tragedy that occurred.

“Sad, hard to imagine,” he told CTV News Edmonton.

“The community is just upset,” he added. “It’s not fair.

“Me and my wife would say hello to him, when he was out on his balcony,” Melvin shared. “What’s really scary is my wife took him to the bottle depot.

“He needed a ride,” he said. “I think about that. Something could’ve happened very bad.”

Investigators are not releasing the identities of the victims, nor any information about the cause of death.