Vehicle used in Markham kidnapping has been recovered: police
Codi Wilson, CP24.com
Published Monday, March 25, 2019 2:30PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, March 25, 2019 4:01PM EDT
Police say they have recovered the vehicle involved in the “brazen” and “violent” kidnapping of a 22-year-old Chinese national in Markham on Saturday evening.
Wanzhen Lu was with a friend in the parking garage of a condo near Highway 7 and Birchmount Road at around 6 p.m. Saturday when he was abducted.
According to police, three suspects got out of a Dodge Caravan and approached Lu, who was walking toward the elevators. Another suspect remained inside the vehicle, which was parked inside the garage.
One of the suspects, police say, shocked Lu with a conducted energy weapon multiple times and loaded him into the van before driving off.
The incident was captured on surveillance cameras in the underground parking garage and police previously released still images from the video in an effort to identify the vehicle or the suspects involved.
Speaking at a news conference on Monday afternoon, York Regional Police Const. Andy Pattenden confirmed that the van used in the abduction was recovered at an unspecified location in Toronto on Sunday night.
Police have not yet been able to identify the perpetrators and investigators do not know the current whereabouts of the victim.
“We are working with all of our partner agencies, border services, all of the neighbouring jurisdictions on this. We just have no sign of Mr. Lu at this time,” Pattenden said.
He said forensic officers will be poring over the vehicle to collect any evidence that may be inside the minivan.
“They are going to be looking for any sort of evidence that might be able to… determine who was in that vehicle and lead us to where Mr. Lu might be,” he added.
Pattenden said he does not believe investigators or family members have had any contact with the kidnappers and no ransom request has been made.
“This entire case is odd,” Pattenden said. “This type of thing just does not happen in York Region. I mean we are a safe region. Markham is a very safe place. Abductions like this, especially where this level of violence is used, is very rare in this country.”
Investigators say they believe the attack was “targeted” as the friend who was with Lu at the time of the abduction was not physically injured.
Police are still trying to determine a motive for the kidnapping.
The 22-year-old, who also goes by the name Peter, is currently living in Canada to study but police would not confirm what school he is attending.
“People have been reaching out that are classmates of his,” Pattenden said.
The victim’s family is on their way to Canada from China and are “very concerned” about Lu’s wellbeing, Pattenden added.
Investigators are urging the kidnappers to turn themselves into police.
“Now is the time to seek legal counsel and turn yourself in. Now is the time to let Mr. Lu go. Put him in a safe location,” Pattenden said.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact York Reginal Police or Crime Stoppers.