Police say man found dead in Bradford had ties to Toronto’s gay community
Published Thursday, May 12, 2022 5:20AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, May 12, 2022 2:19PM EDT
Police say a man who was found dead in Bradford last month was a member of Toronto’s gay community and are appealing to the public for any information to help solve his murder.
Mojtaba Shabani’s remains were found in a barrel by kayakers in the Bradford Canal, in the area of Canal and Simcoe Roads, on April 15.
On Thursday, police announced that the 37-year-old had ties to Toronto’s LGBTQ2S+ community and frequented the areas of Keele and Finch and Church and Wellesley.
“...We are appealing to those members of that community who may know Mr. Shabani or have any information about his whereabouts or his former whereabouts, his contacts, any of his friends or close associates, any employers, any information is going to be very important to solving this case,” Staff Sgt. David Phillips said at a news conference Thursday afternoon.
After conducting an autopsy, police have ruled Shabani’s death as a homicide but have not revealed the cause of his death.
Phillips said there is no evidence to believe that Shabani was killed because of his sexuality.
“There is not (a suggestion) at this point but we're not turning a blind eye to any possibility. Again, it's important that members of that community, if they know Mr. Shabani to come forward, help us out.”
Police also released a new image of Shabani on Thursday which better resembles what he looked like before his death.
Shabani moved from Iran to Canada in 2010 and police said he appeared to have lived a transient lifestyle.
Police believe Shabani may have lived in different areas of Ontario, including in Durham Region and Simcoe County.
Phillips said that Shabani held several labour jobs and “moved from employer to employer at times.”
“Mr. Shabani has been very quiet in the community. We've been struggling to find people that were familiar with him. We're appealing to any international family, casual acquaintances of Mr. Shabani’s. Someone has information out there that's going to change this case, it's going to give us some more information to go on,”
Police previously released the descriptions of three vehicles they said were registered to Shabani. They are a 2004 grey Honda Accord with the licence plate 'CHAW891,' a 2001 blue Honda Civic with a licence plate 'BVHR490,' and a 2003 red Volkswagen with a licence plate 'CFPC027.'
Anyone with information is being asked to contact police or Crime Stoppers anonymously.
- With files from CTV Barrie