For one year, the mother of Elnaz Hajtamiri has awoken each morning thinking it will be the day she hears from her daughter.
But the phone call doesn’t come.
Hajtamiri was violently abducted from a home in Wasaga Beach one year ago today. She has not been seen or heard from since.
The disturbing details of her case have re-emerged in news headlines today on the anniversary of the abduction. Her family hopes those details will help more people come forward, ultimately bringing Hajtamiri home to her family.
“I just want to hug our daughter again,” Fariba Hajtamiri wrote in a statement released today. “The horrors we have seen, the nightmares we sleep with as our imaginations run wild with possibilities, and the demons we have come face-to-face with during this investigation are hard to comprehend.”
On the evening of Jan. 12, 2022, Elnaz Hajtamiri, 37, was abducted by three Black men who were impersonating police officers. They charged into the Wasaga Beach home where she was staying, grabbed her, dragged her outside, and put her in a white SUV and then drove away with her in the back seat.
Since then, investigators say she has not been seen or heard from.
"Nothing weighs more heavily on our souls than the idea that we may never know what happened to Elnaz," said her mother, Fariba. “We are perpetually living in a limbo of emotions, and until we know what happened to her, we can’t break out of this endless loop and move forward with the next stage of grief: acceptance.”
Elnaz Hajtamiri was attacked in a parking garage in Richmond Hill where she lived weeks before she was abducted. She was beaten with a frying pan on Dec. 21, 2021 by two men. She required more than 30 stitches to close a gash across her forehead.
A family member said she was apprehensive about getting into the ambulance after the attack, expressing concern the emergency responders were not real paramedics or police.
“It is unclear why she felt endangered,” stated a release from her family.
Three people have been arrested in connection to the Dec. 21 attack, including Riyasat Singh, Harsheep Binner, and Mohamad Lilo, who is Elnaz Hajtamiri's ex-boyfriend.
All three received charges for attempted murder and attempted kidnapping. Singh pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and sentenced to time served. He was deported as a result of an existing federal order.
Binner and Lilo are awaiting trial to face the charges.
Lilo was also charged with kidnapping in connection to Elnaz Hajtamiri's abduction on Jan. 12, 2022. Those allegations have also not been tested in court.
“Prior to Elnaz’ attack and kidnapping, she was fearing for her safety as tracking devices were found underneath her vehicle on separate occasions,” states the release from the Hajtamiri family. “She had recently terminated her relationship with her ex-boyfriend Mohammed Lilo in September 2021 and felt that she was being watched.”
Friends and family noted a change in Elnaz Hajtamiri’s behaviour even prior to the December 2021 parking garage attack.
“She exhibited fear and was reclusive, asking her loved ones to lock their doors and change their home security codes and to follow her car home to ensure she arrived safely,” states the news release. “It is unclear what caused her sudden change in behaviour … but it is believed she was fearful for her life.”
Police confirmed Elnaz Hajtamiri was not involved in any crime.
Hajtamiri would now be 38 years old. She was born in Iran and married Farnam Shapourifar, a veterinarian, when she was 25 years old. The Hajtamiri family said Shapourifar died in 2017, and Elnaz used their savings to build a school for young girls in a village in Iran, named for her late husband.
She moved to Ontario in 2018 and settled in the Toronto area, working as an administrator in import/export shipping. She left that field of work to start a cake-making business.
“Elnaz dedicates much of her life to serving the needy and offering her support to her community,” states the release from her family. “She lives a quiet and decent life surrounded by her friends and family, focusing most of her efforts on various community initiatives. She is a loving, educated, kind and generous woman and is loved by her family and friends all over the world.”
Ontario Provincial Police and York Region Police announced today they are joining to offer a $100,000 reward for information that leads to the location of Elnaz Hajtamiri. They also released composite sketches of two of the three suspects involved in the abduction on Jan. 12, 2022.
"We know there are people out there who have information and who may be contemplating whether to come forward. We pray that you will do the right thing and help us out of this suffering and bring justice for Elnaz,” stated Fariba.
Police urge anyone with information to contact them at 1-888-310-1122 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or submit tips online at ontariocrimestoppers.ca/submit-a-tip.
Police also created the hashtag #BringElnazHome and encourage the public to share photos of Elnaz using the hashtag.