Missing Richmond Hill woman’s ex-boyfriend charged in her kidnapping
Published Tuesday, July 12, 2022 3:50PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, July 12, 2022 10:17PM EDT
The ex-boyfriend and former business partner of a missing Richmond Hill woman has been charged with kidnapping in connection with her January disappearance as well attempt murder and attempt kidnapping following a violent assault and kidnapping attempt late last year.
Last December, then 37-year-old Elnaz Hajtamiri was reportedly confronted by two men in an underground parking garage in Richmond Hill and struck in the head with a frying pan. Hajtamiri required roughly 40 stiches to close the wound.
The suspects, who also allegedly tried to abduct her, took off in a vehicle after a concerned citizen stepped in. Shortly after, investigators reportedly located and seized a tracking device on Hajtamiri’s car.
In April, York Regional Police executed a warrant at a residence in Brampton resulting in Riyasat Singh, 23, of Mississauga, being taken into police custody.
At that time, York Regional Police also issued a Canada-wide warrant for the arrest of Harshdeep Binner, 23, of Brampton. He remains at large.
Both men face charges of attempted murder, attempted kidnapping, possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000, and mischief under $5,000.
Today, Ontario Provincial Police announced Mohamad Lilo, 35, of Brossard, Québec, has been charged with kidnapping in connection with Hajtamiri's Jan 12 disappearance.
They also said he's now facing attempted murder and attempted kidnapping charges stemming from the December 2021 incident.
Lilo, who has a July 13 court date, was also charged last January with criminal harassment stemming from the couple’s October 2021 break up.
Hajtamiri, who also goes by the surname Tamiri, was last seen at a residence in Wasaga Beach on January 12. According to the OPP, three suspects dressed in “police gear” forcibly dragged her from a family member’s home where she had been hiding out. They all fled the scene in a stolen white Lexus RX sport utility vehicle, police said.
Three months ago, Ontario Provincial Police’s Major Case Manager along with Farsi and Arabic-speaking members of the service recapped the known investigative activities to that date and released a video plea for help from the missing woman’s mother, Fariba, in Iran.
Speaking to CP24 late this afternoon, Bill Dickson, the OPP’s acting manager of media relations, said just because new charges have been laid and individuals believed to be connected to this case are before the courts, this investigation is not over “by any means”.
He said police remain focused on reuniting Hajtamiri with her family.
“Our hope is we don’t find a body. Our hope remains that is we will find Elnaz Hajtamiri alive and bring her home to her family,” he said.
“We want to find what has happened to Elnaz Hajtamiri, where is she, what is her condition. Will that result in more charges, more arrests? We don’t know. We can’t speculate on that, but anything is possible at this point in time.”
Dickson said this missing persons investigation, which is now more than six months old, is “very frustrating” for investigators.
“We know she’s got to be out there somewhere and our investigative team has been working tirelessly trying to find out where she is, how she was taken from Wasaga Beach to some other location, was she relocated after that we just don’t know,” he said, adding what police are going through pales in comparison to what Hajtamiri’s family is going through.
Dickson urged anyone who knows anything about this case, “no matter how insignificant,” to contact police or Crime Stoppers.
“It could be the thing that brings us to locate Elnaz,” he said.
In a statement, Hajtamiri’s family expressed their gratitude to the OPP for making “progress in arresting the suspects from her attack and kidnapping, and understanding what happened to our dear Elnaz.”
“These past 6 months have been grueling and painful since her disappearance, as we’ve continued to search endlessly for her. We’ve been met with nothing but silence from the abductors, and not a trace has been found from our beautiful girl,” they said.
“We hope that the arrest of this suspect will bring us closer to finding her.”
Hajtamiri’s family went on to thank Det. Insp. Martin Graham and the entire OPP team for their “relentless work, compassion, and dedication to this case.”
“We are truly grateful and hopeful that this development will lead us to finding Elnaz” the family said.
“If anyone out there has information about this case or Elnaz’s whereabouts, please come forward and share with the police.”
Hajtamiri is described as five-foot-three with a slim build and shoulder-length black hair, which had been cut to a shorter length before she was abducted. She emigrated from Iran to Canada less than four years ago.
Anyone with any information is asked to call 1-833-728-3415, local police service, or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or online at https://ontariocrimestoppers.ca/submit-a-tip/submit-a-tip.
-with files from CTV News Barrie