TORONTO — A 14-year-old boy abducted on a Toronto street was taken and is being held as retribution for his step-brother’s alleged unpaid drug debt worth approximately $4 million, police say.
An Amber Alert is currently in place for Shammah Jolayemi, who police say was last seen around 8.26 a.m. screaming “help me, help me” as he was forced into a black Jeep Wrangler by two males.
Jolayemi was pushed into the car in the Finch Avenue West and Driftwood Avenue area, outside of 353 Driftwood Avenue. His parents notified police he was missing around 5.30 p.m. on Wednesday.
“We believe Shammah was abducted as retribution for an unpaid drug debt,” Toronto police’s Steve Watts told reporters on Thursday.
“Investigators believe Shammah’s brother owes a large debt in relation to a multi-kilo cocaine rip and has since fled the GTA.”
Police said there has been communication with the abductors but would not elaborate.
The drug deal at issue is alleged to have taken place in the summer of 2019, Watts said, adding the value of the drugs taken was approximately $4 million.
Watts said that a burnt-out vehicle found in the area of Forks of the Credit Provincial Park in Caledon, Ont. earlier Thursday matches the description of the vehicle witnesses have described.
“We believe this is the same vehicle used in the abduction,” Watts said.
Aerial footage from the CTV News Toronto helicopter, which was captured on Thursday morning after the vehicle had been taken away, showed multiple police vehicles and officers in the area it was discovered.
Jolayemi is described as about five-foot-eleven to six feet, with a slim build and short dark brown hair.
He was last seen wearing a gray hoodie, gray track pants with an orange stripe, a shiny black puffy winter coat and yellow Air Jordans. He may have been carrying a red and black Adidas backpack.
Morning absence calls never went out, TDSB says
The Toronto District School Board confirmed to CTV News Toronto on Thursday afternoon that Jolayemi is a Grade 9 student at Newtonbrook Secondary School, which is located in the area of Hilda Avenue and Steeles Avenue West.
Ryan Bird, a spokesperson for the school board, said automated phone calls typically go out to parents or guardians twice daily, usually around 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. He said morning absences should have been recorded and then issued as part of the school’s morning call, but they “did not get recorded in time.”
The first attendance call did not go out until 6:09 p.m., Bird said.
“The TDSB procdure says the teacher of each class has to enter the attendance information promptly for every period of the day. That attendance information should have been entered by the 11 a.m. cut-off time and that would have prompted a phone call to parents,” Bird said.
“Because it wasn’t entered in time for that cut-off it (the call) got shifted to later in the day.”
He confirmed that four staff members have been place on home assignment while the school board investigates the matter further.
This is a developing news story. More information to come.