Father pleads for safe return of son after 'uncharacteristic' disappearance in Vaughan
Published Thursday, March 28, 2019 8:47AM EDT Last Updated Thursday, March 28, 2019 6:54PM EDT
The father of a missing Vaughan man is turning to the public for help after searches for the 24-year-old have gone cold since his “uncharacteristic and sudden” disappearance one week ago.
Simi Abrams left Mackenzie Health Hospital, near Bathurst Street and Major Mackenzie Drive in Richmond Hill, at around 11 a.m. on March 21.
From there, York Regional Police Det. Sgt. Kevin McCloskey said Abrams visited a Walmart on Major Mackenzie Drive at around 2:30 p.m. where he purchased items that “would make up a makeshift barbeque set,” including skewers and bread.
Investigators were able to track his movements up until about 3:30 p.m., where Abrams was seen heading west on Teston Road near Keele Street.
“Unfortunately we have not been able to confirm any sightings of him since that period of time,” McCloskey said. “We are using a battery of investigative techniques to try to locate Simi.”
Police officers found Abrams’ wallet and phone on a pathway leading up toward Teston Road at around 11:30 p.m. the same day. It’s believed he discarded the items, possibly keeping a credit card with him, not long after he left the hospital.
It’s at that point McCloskey said a search and rescue team began the first of a five-day search for Abrams. A heavy police response, including a helicopter and 55-60 officers, combed through a 10-kilometre stretch consisting of wooded nature trails in the Teston Road and Bathurst Street area.
A group of about 350 volunteers from the local Jewish community also assisted in the efforts.
Despite the lengthy search, there has still been no sign of Abrams
His father, Bob Abrams, who travelled from New Jersey to help find his son, provided no further insight into why he would disappear. He made a public appeal for his safe return.
“I want you to know that when you are ready, please call me. I just want to know that you are safe and well,” he said.
“Please know you are not in trouble. We just want to get you back safe and well. There will be no questions, expectations or judgments, we just want you back.”
McCloskey suggested Abrams may have sought shelter in a shed or abandoned home in a rural area of Vaughan and urged residents to check their properties.
“Every indication as supported by the video evidence was that Simi was healthy and able and walking on foot and covering a clear distance in a short period of time. Where he then goes from there – north, south, east or west – nobody knows,” McCloskey said.
“The purpose of the appeal today is to ask the members of our community, especially if you live on a rural property – embrace spring, get out there, go for a walk, check your rural property, check any buildings you have on that property. For people living in more suburban, populated areas please pay attention to the images and the videos of Simi.”
McCloskey said police are not aware of a reason as to why Abrams would take off and lose contact with loved ones, nor does he have any history with police. He would not disclose the reason Abrams was at the hospital that day, only to say it “had nothing to do with any type of physical injury.”
Abrams is a student, he said, and has lived in the Greater Toronto Area for the last 15 years with his mother. The concern for his safety is derived from the “uncharacteristic and sudden” nature of his disappearance and that he made an unusual indication that he “does not want to return.”
“I’m concerned for his personal well-being in that I don’t know what amount of money he had on him, I am aware that he did take a credit card with him from that wallet. There’s no reason to believe that he has or has purchased anything more than what was on his back.,” he said.
“It has been some time. Although we’re moving into the spring, the evenings are still cold. From that perspective we’re concerned.”
Investigators are asking the public to call police immediately upon spotting Abrams. McCloskey went as far to ask those who spot him to keep their eyes on him until police arrive.
Abrams has been described as approximately five-foot-four in height, 140 pounds with brown eyes and long, curly dark hair.
Police said he was last seen wearing a white toque with a blue stripe, a dark winter jacket and jeans.
“I hope he’s taken some time for himself,” McCloskey said.
“I’m hoping that he’ll see this today and I hope he’ll realize that his family cares about him deeply and they love him and that the police are working day and night to try and locate him and bring him home safely.”
Anyone who spots Abrams is being asked to call York Regional Police immediately.