TORONTO — Canada-wide warrants have been issued for the arrest of two new suspects in connection with the alleged attack of a 37-year-old woman who was later abducted from an Ontario town, police said Thursday.
York Regional Police said that two men named in the warrants have been charged in the violent assault of Elnaz Hajtamiri, who was attacked with a frying pan in the underground parking garage of the condo building where she lived on Dec. 20, 2021 in Richmond Hill, Ont.
"I can tell you that the two people that we're looking for today on the Canada-wide warrants were directly involved in the planning and the execution of that attack," Det. Sgt. Jason Dinsmore told a news conference.
Investigators said Hajtamiri was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries after the attack while the suspects fled in a vehicle.
Police said the two suspects, a 24-year-old man from Delta, B.C., and a 23-year-old man from Mississauga, Ont., have each been charged with aggravated assault and conspiracy to commit an indictable offence, and police believe they are in Canada.
In 2022, police arrested two 24-year-old men from Brampton, Ont., one who has since been deported, and charged them with several offences including attempted murder and attempted kidnapping in relation to the attack.
"We know that (these two) were physically involved in the attack on Elnaz," said Dinsmore.
A third suspect, the 35-year-old ex-boyfriend of Hajtamiri, who is from Brossard, Que., was arrested in 2022 and charged with attempted murder and attempted kidnapping for his role in planning the attack.
In mid-February 2023, police arrested a fourth suspect, a 25-year-old man from Mono, Ont., as well as a fifth suspect, a 25-year-old man who is also from Delta, B.C., on March 1. Both have been charged with aggravated assault and conspiracy to commit an indictable offence in connection with the attack.
"It's a complex investigation," said Dinsmore. "But I can tell you (compared to) back in December of 2021, we are a lot … closer to finding answers that everyone's looking for."
Less than a month after the attack, Hajtamiri was abducted by two men and a woman from a relative's home in Wasaga Beach, Ont., according to the Ontario Provincial Police, who are in charge of the abduction case. She has not been seen or heard from since.
The OPP announced last Friday that they had arrested a 30-year-old woman from Brampton and charged her with kidnapping in the Jan. 12, 2022 abduction.
The provincial police also issued an arrest warrant in early March for a 35-year-old man from Toronto, who is a suspect in the abduction.
They have said they are also still looking to identify one or potentially two individuals of interest, who are not suspects but who may have information related to the abduction.
Police said there is a $100,000 reward for anyone — including those who submit information anonymously through Crime Stoppers — who can provide information on Hajtamiri's whereabouts.
Dinsmore said police do not know if Hajtamiri is still alive, but they have "the greatest hope" that she is.
"There's people out there that know what happened," said Dinsmore. "We're reaching out and trying to find answers, for her family, her friends and the community at large."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March23, 2023.
Jessica Smith, The Canadian Press