Less than 24 hours after she went missing, the body of a young Canadian girl was recovered. Shortly after, a suspect in her killing was arrested.
As reported by CTV, Riya Rajkumar, 11, was found dead in the home of her father. She was reported missing on Thursday, February 14, after her father failed to return Riya to the custody of her mother. The young girl was allegedly abducted by her father, Roopesh Rajkumar, who took his daughter out for her 11th birthday earlier that afternoon.
Roopesh, 41, was arrested after police discovered his daughter’s body, and will be formally charged with first-degree murder sometime today. Authorities noted that Rajkumar has been hospitalized since his arrest, and is currently in police custody. As CTV reports, Riya’s father made threats to his former girlfriend, indicating that he would harm both his daughter and himself.
The young girl’s mother notified police of Riya’s absence at approximately 7 p.m. ET on Thursday, which triggered an Amber Alert in an attempt to locate the Riya and her father.
Peel Regional Police spokesman Danny Marttini recounted the incident.
“She came in already fully concerned saying, ‘This is what he’s saying to me, I’m concerned for the well-being of my daughter, I need some help,”‘ Marttini explained. “Obviously our investigators took action right away.”
Riya’s father did not have full-time custody of his daughter, but the young girl was dropped off at a gas station at approximately 3 p.m. on Thursday, where she met her father. The two planned to spend the afternoon together to celebrate Riya’s birthday. The 11-year-old and her mother shared the same birthday.
At the time of writing, it’s not entirely clear what transpired between Riya and her father after the two met up. At around midnight, law enforcement located the girl’s body at a duplex in Brampton, Ontario. As CTV reports, Roopesh Rajkumar was apprehended by Ontario Provincial Police in a “high-risk takedown” shortly after, in the small town of Orillia, Ontario, located approximately 80 miles north of Brampton. Roopesh was arrested based on tips sent by citizens, who responded to an Amber Alert sent out at 11 p.m. that night.
Canadian officials, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, offered their condolences to Riya’s friends and family.
“Amber Alerts like the one so many of us received last night are critically important to helping police when a child’s life is on the line. My deepest condolences to everyone mourning young Riya today,” Trudeau wrote on Twitter.