Toronto police chief Mark Saunders said the investigation into the abduction of 14-year old Shammah Jolayemi is still ongoing as officers are still looking for the person, or persons, responsible.
“No stone was...unturned with this investigation,” Saunders said at a press conference on Friday. “There is a fantastic opportunity to find those people.”
The police chief said at around 10:20 p.m. on Thursday, Jolayemi was found in Brampton. He appeared “disheveled” but is now safe with his parents. Officers have yet to interview the teen.
Saunders confirmed that police have not had any contact with the abductors but have been in “limited” contact with Jolayemi’s older stepbrother. They do not know where he is but Saunder said he is not in the GTA, and officials are uncertain if the stepbrother is in the province.
When asked if the boy and his family are safe with the abductors still out there, Sunder said Jolayemi is “probably...the most watched man in Toronto” someone would be “more than a fool” to target the 14-year-old or his family at this point.
Toronto police continue to seek any tips from the public to assist in the investigation.
“The role he would play is a witness and he would have a strong idea of who is involved and what the involvement was,” Saunders said. “Abductions are not done in vacuums, there was a lot of public exposure….I think the breadcrumbs will lead us right to who was involved.”
NEWS UPDATE: The Toronto Police have located Shammah Jolayemi, age 14. He is safe and being taken for a medical checkup. A news conference will be held tomorrow / Friday morning at Toronto Police Headquarters. Time is TBC. GO460088 #GoodNews ^ams
— Toronto Police Operations (@TPSOperations) March 6, 2020
Earlier on Thursday, officers revealed Jolayemi was abducted as retribution for cocaine theft involving his stepbrother.
“We believe that Shammah was abducted as retribution for an unpaid drug debt,” Toronto Police Supt. Steve Watts said in a news conference Thursday. “Investigators believe that Shammah’s brother, Olalekan Osikoya, owes a large debt in relation to a multi-kilo cocaine cocaine rip that has since flooded the GTA.”
Watts said police are alleging that two to three males “forced Shammah into a dark coloured Jeep Rangler” around 8:31 a.m. on Wednesday
It’s believed the drug theft happened in 2019 and involved approximately 100 kilograms of cocaine, worth an estimated $4 million.
“You need to release Shammah,” Watts said before it was announced that the boy has been found. “This is a 14-year-old, innocent child...he is not part of that lifestyle.”
Officials said they were “extremely concerned for his safety,” after Jolayemi went missing from the Jane St. and Driftwood Ave. area of the city on Wednesday at 8:25 a.m.
“A 14-year-old boy was observed to be screaming, ‘Help me! Help me!’ and to be forced into a black Jeep Wrangler by two males,” Insp. Jim Gotell said in a news conference.
The Toronto District School Board has confirmed that four members of the Newtonbrook Secondary School are on “home assignment” after the boy’s parents were only notified at 6:09 p.m. Wednesday that their son did not show up at school.
TDSB’s formal procedure requires teachers to report attendance at each period. The information is entered electronically at Newtonbrook Secondary School and automated absence calls are made at around 11:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. each day.
“We have confirmed that attendance information from the morning was not entered by the 11:00 a.m. cut-off time as it should have been and as a result, this information was shifted to the second call” the TDSB confirmed to Yahoo Canada in an email statement. “We’re still confirming details, however if it’s found that there is culpable behaviour then that can result in disciplinary action.”
Staff at the school board have been communicating with Jolayemi’s family throughout the day to provide support.
Officers were looking for a black Jeep with oversized front tires and a front push bar with round fog lights. Watts said a vehicle matching the description was found in Caledon, Ont.
Anyone with any information can call Toronto Police or Crime Stoppers at 222-TIPS.