The ex-boyfriend of a Canadian woman who was abducted from her home by three men in police gear has been charged with kidnapping and attempted murder in connection to the incident, according to Ontario provincial police.
Elnaz Hajtamiri, 37, has remained missing since the evening of Jan. 12, when assailants in a white Lexus SUV drove to a home in Wasaga Beach, Ontario, where she was reportedly staying with a relative after breaking up with 35-year-old Mohammed Lilo, of Quebec, who is now in police custody.
According to the homeowner’s account to authorities, the men claimed to be police officers with a warrant for Hajtamiri’s arrest. After tussling with the relative, the men broke into the house, snatched Hajtamiri, and dragged her barefoot through the snow and into the vehicle, the family member said.
The woman has not been seen since, but the case took a turn after police in the Canadian city of Richmond Hill, where the victim was living in December 2021, revealed they had responded to reports that Hajtamiri had been violently beaten with a frying pan in a parking lot by unknown assailants just weeks before her abduction. Local authorities said a bystander had intervened and stopped the attack, after which Hajtamiri was treated at a hospital for her injuries. A tracking device was found on her car in the aftermath of the attack, police said.
Lilo, who is set to appear in court on Wednesday, has been charged with attempted kidnapping for the December incident in addition to the January abduction. Another man, 23-year-old Riyasat Singh of Mississauga, has since been arrested and charged for the December assault. Canadian police have also issued an arrest warrant for another alleged attacker, Harshdeep Binner of Brampton, who remains at large.
Prior to his arrest, CBC News reported that Lilo had hired a private investigator to track Hajtamiri’s whereabouts in the weeks leading up to her kidnapping. According to three sources who spoke with the outlet under the condition of anonymity, Lilo had asked the Brampton-based Investigations Plus Ltd. to “locate and surveil” his ex-lover in the Wasaga Beach residence. Lilo reportedly told the firm to call off their surveillance efforts on Jan. 12, the same day of Hajtamiri’s abduction.
Ontario provincial police have said that they’re still unaware of Hajtamiri’s whereabouts.
“The family is proceeding both with the hope and the absolute belief that Elnaz is still alive,” a lawyer for the woman’s family said in a statement to the Toronto Star in March. “And there’s no really no reason to think that that is not the case.”
Hajtamiri had immigrated to Canada in 2018, and was planning to open her own cake bakery after leaving her job in the shipping industry before her abduction.