amber alert toronto

Toronto devastated after grim outcome of Amber Alert

Canada's public alert system for child abductions is in the spotlight once again this morning after a late-night Amber Alert jolted many Ontarians out of bed in a fit of panic.

An alert from Peel Regional Police went out to cellphones across the province around 11 p.m. on Thursday after an 11-year-old girl was reported missing by her mother.

amber alert toronto

Amber Alerts only recently started appearing as notifications mobile phones in Canada. Image via blogTO.

The Brampton girl had been picked up by her father, 41-year-old Roopesh Rajkumar, to celebrate her birthday that afternoon but didn't return home at 6:30 p.m. as expected.

Her mother notified police around 7 p.m. that she had received "concerning messages" from Rajkumar about harming himself and his daughter and the decision to put out an Amber Alert was made.

amber alert ontario

Suspected homicide victim Riya Rajkumar, 11, is pictured with her father Roopesh Rajkumar in this handout from Peel Police. Image via Peel Regional Police.

Sadly, just one hour after the alert went out, police found the lifeless body of young Riya Rajkumar inside her father's basement apartment in Brampton.

The Amber Alert was called off around midnight to the relief of many, who read on their phones that the child had been found. It wasn't until about half an hour later that police announced she'd been found dead.

News of the tragedy is breaking hearts across the nation today, but news of how some people reacted to the initial Amber Alert is prompting incredulous outrage.

"I can't even begin to describe how disappointing and upsetting it is to read the comments, emails and calls to our communications bureau complaining about receiving an Amber Alert late at night," wrote Peel Police Media Relations Officer Cst. Akhil Mooken on Twitter early Friday morning.

"I appreciate that a lot of people were sleeping but the immediate need to locate the child outweighed the momentary inconvenience that some people encountered," Mooken continued.

"Tragically, this incident did not have the outcome we were all hoping for, but the suspect was located as a direct result of a citizen receiving the alert and calling 9-1-1. The system works"

Rajkumar was arrested in a high-risk takedown not long after his daughter's body was discovered, according to police.

A motorist who'd seen the Amber Alert recognized his silver Honda Civic and called 911. Ontario Provincial Police found the man on Highway 11 near Orillia more than an hour away from his home.

Rajkumar has been transferred into the custody of Peel Regional Police but charges have yet to be filed.

A homicide investigation is now underway.

Lead photo by

Peel Regional Police

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