Toronto police say the abduction of a 14-year-old boy is retribution for an unpaid drug debt owed by his stepbrother.
Supt. Steven Watts says the deal in question dates back to the summer of 2019 and involves 100 kg of cocaine with an approximate value of $4-million.
An Amber Alert has been issued for 14-year-old Shammah Jolayemi and remains in effect more than 36 hours after he was heard screaming for help as he was forced into a vehicle near his home Wednesday morning.
Shammah is described as about six feet tall, with a slim build. He was wearing a grey hoodie, grey track pants with a thin orange stripe, shiny black puffy coat, and black and yellow Air Jordan shoes.
Police say the boy was last seen in the area of Jane Street and Driftwood Avenue at around 8:25 a.m. while walking to school. It was then that police say “two to three males” forced Jolayemi into a black Jeep Wrangler.
The suspects are described as men between 18 and 22 years old, who were wearing bandanas and black jackets.
Watts says the burned-out vehicle has since been found near the town of Caledon, northwest of the city.
“You need to release Shammah,” said Watts in a direct appeal to the kidnappers. “This is a 14-year-old, innocent child. He is not a part of that business, he is not a part of that lifestyle.”
Investigators add they believe Shammah is still in Ontario and is alive at this point.
Police say they have spoken with Jolayemi’s stepbrother, Olalekan Osikoya, adding he is cooperating with the investigation.
“There has been communication (with the abductors),” said Watts. “But I’m not going to speak to the actual substance of that communication.”
The Toronto District School Board says four staff members at Newtonbrook Secondary School have been placed on home assignment while the board investigates why the parents of the abducted teen were not notified about his absence from school until after 6:09 p.m. on Wednesday.
TDSB spokesperson Ryan Bird says attendance reporting is done each period with automated absence calls going out twice a day.
Both the union representing high school teachers and the TDSB tell CityNews the current work to rule campaign had no impact on the attendance report not being filed on time.