Wasaga Beach kidnapping: family and police ask for help

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Three months after she was dragged barefoot from a home in Wasaga Beach, Ontario, police are appealing to the public for information about the abduction of 37-year-old Elnaz Hajtamiri.

“We know someone is out there who has information on Elnaz’s whereabouts,” Det. of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP). Insp. said Martin Graham during a press conference on Tuesday. “We want to hear from you. We need to hear from you.”

Police also released a video statement from Hajtimiri’s mother, Fariba Hajtamiri, who lives in Iran. Speaking in a pre-recorded video with translated subtitles, she said the family were “living desperate lives” without knowing the whereabouts of their daughter.

“We desperately need your help,” she said. “I beg you as a mother to guide us and tell us everything you know. Please, please.

Hajtamiri was forcibly taken to a relative’s home in Wasaga Beach, about 109 kilometers northwest of Toronto, on the evening of January 12. His captors posed as police officers and dragged Hajtamiri barefoot through the snow in a white SUV. Hajtamiri has not been seen since.

Two weeks before the abduction, Hajtamiri was assaulted with a frying pan in a parking garage in Richmond Hill, Ontario, which left her with a head wound that required 40 stitches. Police say the two suspects in the assault are not the same men who kidnapped Hajtamiri, but believe the cases are linked.

“So we have at least five different people directly responsible for these crimes,” Graham said. “Despite the number of people involved, we have not received any information that would provide us with a specific link as to the direction the investigation should take.”

Nine days after her disappearance, Hajtamiri’s former boyfriend, Mohamad Lilo, was arrested and charged with criminal harassment. Police will not comment on whether he is a suspect in the case, but say they are investigating the relationship.

“Obviously one of the lines of inquiry that we need to follow is to investigate the relationship she had with her former boyfriend, with whom she shared both a professional and a personal relationship,” said Graham.

Police are appealing to members of the Iranian community in Toronto and Montreal and have released information in Farsi and Arabic in hopes someone will provide information.

For Graham, he says it’s rare to investigate a case with so little evidence to proceed.

“It keeps you up at night,” he said. “It consumes you. It’s heartbreaking to hear a mother and father crying on the other side of the world who have no idea where their daughter is.

Hajtamiri, who also goes by the surname Tamiri, emigrated from Iran to Canada less than four years ago. She has a slim build and shoulder-length black hair, but cut it shorter just before the abduction.

Police won’t say if they think Hajtamiri is still alive.

“My greatest hope is that Elnaz is alive,” Graham said. “My biggest fear is that she won’t.”

Anyone with information is asked to call the OPP information line at 1-833-728-3415.

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