The lawyer representing the family of Elnaz Hajtamiri questions whether York Regional Police did enough to protect the 37-year-old woman before the January 12 kidnapping in Wasaga Beach.
“Elnaz failed,” attorney Devin Bains said.
Bains said Hajtamiri contacted York Regional Police after a violent attack by two men in a parking lot in Richmond Hill weeks before the alleged kidnapping.
A police statement said Hajtamiri was “hit with a frying pan” in the head during the attack in December by two men, who have not yet been identified.
The assault left Hajtamiri with a head wound requiring around 40 stitches.
“Elnaz did everything she should have done, everything she could have done to protect herself,” Bains said. “She contacted the police at all times during her ordeal, and she presented herself as obviously very vulnerable and in imminent danger.”
Police confirmed they seized a tracking device, which Hajtamiri’s family said was found on his vehicle after the parking lot assault.
Weeks later, three men dressed in police gear claiming to have a warrant for her arrest forcibly dragged Hajtamiri barefoot through the snow from a house in Trailwood Place in Wasaga Beach.
“The imminent danger of escalating damage to her was obvious and would have been obvious to any conscientious investigator,” Bains said.
“She doesn’t seem to have been protected at all,” he added.
Elnaz Hajtamiri suffered a head injury requiring approximately 40 stitches after an assault in a parking lot in Richmond Hill, Ontario on December 20, 2021 (Photo courtesy of a Hajtamiri family member)
To date, police have not arrested anyone in connection with the kidnapping.
Mohamad Lilo was arrested and charged with criminal harassment nine days after Hajtamiri disappeared.
Bains said he was stalked by Lilo, his former boyfriend.
He is due to appear in court again in April.
Meanwhile, Bains maintains there is no reason to believe Hajtamiri is not alive and said the focus should be on returning home, “regardless of the failures that contributed to his disappearance”.
“We have to remember that this is not a homicide investigation. This is a kidnapping investigation,” Bains said.
In a statement to CTV News, York Regional Police (YRP) said they were working closely with the Ontario Provincial Police and conducting a “thorough investigation”.
“However, we certainly understand that for a family going through what their family is facing, nothing will be enough until they get the answers they deserve. We will continue to work diligently until that happens. can be solved.”
The statement read: “This remains an active and ongoing investigation between the YRP and the OPP, and there is still much work to be done.”
Police are encouraging anyone with information about Elnaz Hajtamiri’s whereabouts to contact the dedicated tip line at 1-833-728-3415 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.