A Canadian man is facing first-degree murder charges after he took his daughter out for a birthday dinner Thursday and never brought her home. She was found deceased hours later.
CTV News reports that authorities issued an AMBER Alert on Thursday night at around 11:00 p.m. when 11-year-old Riya didn’t return home to her mother after her father, 41-year-old Roopesh Rajkumar, picked the girl up for her birthday at around 3 p.m. earlier in the day. Riya was found dead early Friday morning at a Brampton, Ontario, residence, west of Toronto.
Rajkumar was taken in custody but transferred to a trauma center for self-inflicted gunshot wound after police captured him following a “high risk” pursuit. According to Ontario Provincial Police Staff Sgt. Carolle Dionne, a driver who heard the AMBER Alert spotted the suspect’s car on Highway 11 in Oro-Medonte, Ontario, The Spec reports.
“As a result of the Amber Alert, they observed the vehicle and gave us the coordinates,” Dionne said. “Thankfully, we were able to apprehend this man.”
The little girl didn’t live with her father full-time. He picked her up at a gas station during a visitation exchange with the child’s mother. He was supposed to have her home within a few hours.
Riya had apparently enjoyed a Valentine’s Day and birthday celebration with her mother on Thursday morning, before she was dropped off to spend time with her father. As the hours passed, the girl’s mother became desperately worried after Rajkumar called and made threats.
On Friday morning, Peel police spokesperson Danny Marttini said that the suspect threatened to physically harm his daughter and the girl’s mother, his former girlfriend. The victim’s mother called police Thursday evening and pleaded with them to find her daughter.
“She came in already fully concerned saying, ‘This is what he’s saying to me, I’m concerned for the well-being of my daughter, I need some help,”‘ Marttini explained. “Obviously our investigators took action right away.”
The suspect has been charged with first-degree murder. The little girl’s cause of death is pending an autopsy.
Meanwhile, VICE reports that authorities received criticism from people complaining that the AMBER Alerts on their cellphones kept bothering them as the loud beeps lasted until 3 a.m. Police were shocked and disappointed they had to defend the AMBER Alert system, which is relied upon to find missing children.
“You know, it’s unfortunate when an Amber Alert goes off in the sense that it disrupts people’s lifestyle,” said Martini. “But at the same point, we’re talking about a child that was missing and, in this case, the child was found deceased,” Martini said. “I think you have to weigh that out.”
Peel Region Constable Akhil Mooken agreed. He wrote on Twitter that he was disappointed and upset at all the complaints coming in, when then immediate was not the community’s “momentary inconvenience.”
“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. The immediate need to locate the child outweighed the momentary inconvenience that some people encountered.”
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. I appreciate that a lot of people were sleeping but the immediate need to locate 1/2
— Cst. Akhil Mooken (@OfficerMooken) February 15, 2019
The suspect is recovering in the hospital under police custody. He’s expected to be charged with first-degree murder.
This is a developing story. Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.
[Feature Photo: Riya and Roopesh Rajkumar/Facebook]