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‘Help me, I’ve been kidnapped,’ man recounts finding abduction victim
Codi Wilson And Chris Herhalt, CP24.com
Published Wednesday, March 27, 2019 6:09AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, March 27, 2019 1:49PM EDT
A Gravenhurst man says he was out on his front lawn with his dog Tuesday night when his dog began to bark and he heard a voice in the distance.
“I made out a voice out by the road. I couldn’t understand it that well but I did hear him say something about him being kidnapped,” the homeowner told CP24 Wednesday.
It was the tired voice of a 22-year-old Markham man who police say had been hit several times with a stun gun and kidnapped from the parking garage of his condo three nights ago.
The Gravenhurst homeowner, who declined to be identified publicly as he fears for his safety, told CP24 he was on the front yard of his home on Doe Lake Road in Gravenhurst, about 160 kilometres from where Wanzhen Lu was taken Saturday night, when he heard a voice.
“So I rushed the dog in the house, grabbed my flashlight and went out to meet this lad when he told me he had been kidnapped, to call the police which I did immediately.”
The homeowner said Lu was wearing a hooded sweatshirt that had a bit of duct tape stuck to it.
“He couldn’t see because he didn’t have his glasses,” the homeowner said. “He was pretty shook up and I don’t blame him because he had no clue where he was or what had happened to him or why it happened to him.”
The homeowner said he saw marks on Lu’s arms from some sort of ligature and a cut on one of his knees about three inches across.
“He was searching for words to try and talk to me but he was really shook up. He asked for a glass of water which I got for him.”
The homeowner described Lu as “rattled” and “on the verge of tears.” He did not say anything about who abducted him.
“If that happened to you, you’d be in the same state,” the homeowner told CP24. He said police arrived in about five minutes and took Lu to a hospital.
The Gravenhurst man said he’s happy the incident ended with Lu’s safe return.
“I am grateful that the outcome was positive. Other than a few marks he’s not hurt that bad. Other than the fact it really scared the supreme living daylights out of him.”
Police continue to search for four suspects wanted in connection with Lu’s violent abduction last Saturday.
After departing the home of the man who found him, Lu was taken to a local hospital to be treated for minor injuries. Investigators say they do not know the location where Lu was held by the suspects.
“Those suspects did the right thing. We put that appeal out there. We told them to release him. We knew they were watching and they did just that,” Pattenden told reporters during an update on Wednesday morning.
Police previously said that Lu was with a female friend in the underground parking garage of a condo in the area Highway 7 and Birchmount Road at around 6 p.m. on Saturday when a group of suspects pulled up in a Dodge Caravan. According to police, one suspect shocked Lu with a conducted energy weapon multiple times, forced him into the waiting van, and drove off.
The van, which bore the markings of a handicap transport van, has since been located by police but no charges have been laid.
Police say Lu has returned to York Region, where he is currently speaking to investigators.
Suspects 'will be found,' police say
The motive for the kidnapping is still unclear.
During the time that Lu was missing, police said his family and investigators were not contacted by the kidnappers and no ransom demands were made.
“There is a lot that we need to learn now and Mr. Lu is obviously going to be the best source of information for us as to where he thinks he may have been (and) what happened,” Pattenden said.
“The focus now shifts to finding those suspects.”
Officers in Gravenhurst are currently searching for evidence in the area where Lu was located.
“We will figure this out, it is just a matter of time,” Pattenden said.
He urged the suspects to contact a lawyer and turn themselves in to police.
“We have great video of these suspects. We’ve put out images. We’ll continue to put out more images if they become available and any information we have on these suspects,” he said.
“They will be found. It is just a matter of time.”
Pattenden also confirmed that a Toronto man who was taken into custody in connection with the incident on Tuesday has been released without charge.
“Our investigators did believe that the 35-year-old man from Toronto that was arrested yesterday was part of this kidnapping. Exactly what part I just don’t have the details on that right now,” he said. “He was released unconditionally which means that the evidence wasn’t there to support a criminal charge.”
Police are asking anyone with information about the case to contact York Regional Police or Crime Stoppers anonymously.
“If anyone (in Gravenhurst) happened to see anything up in that area last night, anything suspicious, definitely place a call to us,” Pattenden said.
Pattenden said police have spoken to members of Lu’s family, who travelled to Canada from China after learning of the abduction.
“As soon as the good news came through, investigators let them know right away,” he said. “I’m sure they were very relieved because they were very concerned for the wellbeing of Mr. Lu as were we.”
Lu, who also goes by the name Peter, is currently living in the GTA while he works toward a bachelor’s degree in business administration at Yorkville University, a private post-secondary institution with campuses in Ontario, New Brunswick, and B.C.
Walter Lee, the senior vice-president of Yorkville University, told reporters Wednesday that the abduction has caused “a lot of anxiety” on campus.
“Today is a great day. It was certainly a huge relief for all of us to hear that he is safe,” Lee said.
There are approximately 600 domestic and international students at the Toronto campus and Lee said they are currently working to provide support to all of those impacted by the ordeal.
“This is really an anomaly,” Lee said. “It is not something we’ve experienced before.”