During the late evening of Feb. 14, Peel Regional Police officers found Rajkumar’s body inside her father’s Brampton home after an Ontario-wide Amber Alert was issued.
Officers said Riya was out with her father, Roopesh Rajkumar, for her birthday on Thursday and was supposed to be dropped off with her mother, Priya Ramdin, at a predetermined time.
Police said Ramdin contacted police hours before Riya was eventually found due to a concern about her daughter’s safety and a parental abduction investigation was launched.
Roopesh was arrested in Oro-Medonte, north of Toronto, just after midnight the following day. He was taken into custody shortly after a resident called police upon hearing details of the accused’s vehicle through the Amber Alert.
He was charged with first-degree murder, but later died in hospital after being injured by a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
News of Riya’s death was widely shared across Canada and was fondly remembered by many in the days following her death.
Former interim police chief Chris McCord read a poignant statement on behalf of Ramdin, who hasn’t spoken publicly since her daughter’s death, at a vigil held in Riya’s honour on Feb. 19.
In the statement, she described her daughter as her “best friend — my everything.”
“Riya was always a happy and positive child. She loved life, and was always excited about everything life had to offer. She never liked to be negative,” Ramdin wrote.
“She touched a lot of lives with her laughter and her contagious big smile. It breaks my heart I will no longer be seeing that smile, hearing her voice — I will never have her in my arms again. I can’t believe she is no longer here with me.”
Ramdin described Riya as a dreamer who wanted to become a doctor, drive a Lamborghini, and own a mansion. She noted how her daughter loved Drake and enjoyed playing card games.
“She was a little princess who loved dressing up, having her hair curled and done up. She was a social butterfly who loved to spend time with family and friends. She was a great dancer and singer,” Ramdin wrote.