The woman who was abducted by three men from a home in Wasaga Beach, Ont., earlier this month was brutally attacked by two men at her home in Richmond Hill weeks prior to her disappearance, a family spokesperson says.
The spokesperson, who Global News has agreed not to identify over safety concerns, told Global News that weeks before being abducted, 37-year-old Elnaz Hajtamiri was attacked at her home on King William Crescent.
The spokesperson said on Dec. 21, 2021, Hajtamiri was attacked by two men who dragged her out of her vehicle in the parking garage at her building.
They said she was also hit on the head with a frying pan.
“They violently beat her over the head after dragging her out of her car that resulted in 35 to 40 stitches across her head,” the spokesperson said.
After the attack, the spokesperson said police seized Hajtamiri’s vehicle as part of the investigation.
The spokesperson said officers found a tracking device on the car.
Two tracking devices had previously been located underneath the vehicle by the company Hajtamiri leased it from, the spokesperson said.
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Hajtamiri was told to find a safe place to stay while police investigated. That’s when she drove the vehicle to Wasaga Beach to live with relatives.
However, the spokesperson said there is currently no evidence that an additional tracking device had been placed on the vehicle at the time it was parked at the Wasaga Beach home.
Huronia West OPP said officers received a call on Jan. 12, just after 8:30 p.m., that Hajtamiri had been abducted by three men from a home on Trailwood Place in Wasaga Beach.
Officers said three men had attended the residence wearing “police issued gear,” and said they had a warrant for Hajtamiri’s arrest.
Police said they overpowered the homeowner and abducted Hajtamiri.
According to police, the suspects fled the scene in a white Lexus RX SUV.
Officers have been searching for Hajtamiri ever since. She is described as five feet three inches tall, with a slim build and shoulder-length black hair.
The spokesperson said the family does not know whether the initial attack and the abduction were connected.
“We don’t know. We do know that from the little information we have, the identity of the men was different,” they said. “It was not the same men that had attacked her versus abducting her — but that’s really all the information that we have.”
The spokesperson said Hajtamiri’s family are “devastated” and “terrified for her.”
“This is such a bizarre and shocking experience for all of us — for her,” the spokesperson said. “I think that we are concerned for her safety – it’s been 15 days now.”
They said Hajtamiri’s parents are “beside themselves with grief.”
“All of us have been working around the clock, and it almost feels like our lives have stopped in this period of time while we’re searching for her,” the spokesperson said. “It’s just of utmost priority in our lives to get her home.”
Asked whether Hajtamiri could in any way be involved in organized crime, the spokesperson said the family does “not believe that to be the case.”
“Elnaz was a kind, warm, peaceful person, there’s no evidence for us to believe that she would even know or affiliate herself with anybody that would be involved in criminal activity,” they said. “And we can say for certain that she certainly was not.”
According to the spokesperson, Hajtamiri was born and raised in Iran. She moved to Canada in 2018.
The spokesperson said the family believes Hajtamiri is still alive.
For now, they said the family will be doing “everything they can to bring her home.”
The spokesperson urged anyone with information to contact police.
“Look at her photos, look at her face. See if you recognize her,” they said. “If you have any leads or tips on suspicious activity on seeing anything on the scene. If you’ve got camera footage at home that might have captured even a glimpse of this activity. Please, please share that with police; call the tip line, call OPP, share whatever information you have.”
Last week, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) set up a designated tip line at 1-833-728-3415.
In a statement emailed to Global News on Thursday, the OPP said they had no updates in regards to the abduction case.
Global News reached out to York Regional Police for comment. The force said they are actively investigating the incident in Richmond Hill reported by Hajtamiri to officers in December.
“We remain concerned for her safety,” a spokesperson said. “We are working closely with the OPP and will continue to do so as both investigations progress.”