A teen reported missing after his car was found abandoned still running on the Airport Parkway is now charged with mischief after police concluded it was “a hoax set up as a kidnapping.”
Kilal Taha, 18, is to appear in court Jan. 11 charged with mischief, police said Friday, saying only that help from the public aided major crime investigators in uncovering the ruse. He is the only person charged.
On Nov. 26, Taha’s worried family, who are Syrian refugees, according to police sources, reported that he vanished after heading to work that morning in his black Ford Focus hatchback.
Police found the car near Walkley Road about two hours later.
Because the original call came in as a possible kidnapping, the major crime unit was involved from the start.
They asked the next morning for help identifying vehicles captured in dash cam images by members of the public who came forward in response to police appeals for information.
That evening, police announced Taha had been found safe in a ditch, reportedly in his underwear with minor injuries, but a police spokeswoman said that the investigation into the case continued because “there are too many details that are unclear.”
On Friday, Const. Amy Gagnon said that false reports waste police resources as detectives investigate and patrol officers look for the missing while unnecessarily worrying the public, who in this case came forward with “excellent” help for investigators.
“That is why there is the public mischief charge within the Criminal Code to act as a deterrent to these type of hoaxes,” she said, adding that “this is a very rare occurrence” because police need the public to pay attention to missing person bulletins.
“As a police service, when we issue a news release for a missing person we want it to be taken seriously and it is because we are concerned for their safety,” Gagnon said.