MARKHAM, Ont. – A father sought by police after his five-year-old daughter became the subject of an Amber Alert will not be facing charges in the case, police said Wednesday.
York regional police Const. Andy Pattenden said 25-year-old Soloman Jaffri was taken into custody when the girl was found safe Tuesday afternoon within about an hour of the alert being issued.
Pattenden said the man was released later the same evening without charges, and added that police do not currently anticipate laying any in the future.
The officer declined to discuss the reasons for the decision, but said police were initially operating on information that appears to have been inaccurate.
“We had information at the time to believe that he did not have access to the child,” Pattenden said. “We found now that he did have access to the child.”
Police issued the Amber Alert – a bulletin broadcast in specific cases when a child is believed to be in danger and police can identify a suspect or suspect vehicle – a few hours after the girl was picked up from her school in Markham, Ont.
WATCH: Father in Tuesday’s Amber Alert speaks out. Shallima Maharaj reports.
Pattenden said police were originally told the child was taken from her classroom, but said in fact her father signed her out at the school office at around 2 p.m. He provided no details about why she was leaving school at that time.
Police said Jaffri and daughter got into a minivan cab and were dropped off at an unspecified second location, where they got into another vehicle.
Pattenden said the pair was found just before 6 p.m. near the second location, after someone saw them in a business and recognized them from photos shared through the Amber Alert.
VIDEO: OPP spokesperson sheds some light on way Amber Alerts are used
Police had been scouring the area with helicopters, canine units and patrols in search of the pair at the time they were found.
Pattenden said the police belief at the time that the girl was in danger came from “a variety of sources,” but declined to provide further details.
He said the Amber Alert was justified based on the information they had at the time, pointing to both the happy ending and speedy resolution as proof that the move was effective.
“The system worked,” he said. “She was found safely and quickly, and that’s ultimately the objective.”
Father speaks out after Amber Alert
Jaffri said in an interview that he picked up his daughter to go out for dinner with a relative. He said he told the girl’s mother, who he is separated from, that he was going to pick their daughter up, adding he wasn’t aware an Amber Alert was issued.
Late on Tuesday, Jaffri was released from police custody. He said he police determined there was no harm.
“The police just did their job. They were given information – false information – that led to an Amber Alert. They were given information that they couldn’t take a chance on. They had to proceed the way they proceeded yesterday,” Jaffri said.
“I was falsely accused of abducting my own child, who I cared for, provided for, loved for, and was just globally labelled the opposite of that. The truth needs to be told.”
— With files from Nick Westoll
VIDEO: Police say 5-year-old girl taken from Markham school by father found safe