Police find abduction 'victim' in St. Catharines
Published Tuesday, August 25, 2009 8:48PM EDT
Furqan Muhammad-Haroon, who hasn't been seen since telling a relative that men with a gun were following him on Saturday, has been located in St. Catharines, Ont.
Toronto police said Tuesday evening that the 22-year-old has been charged with public mischief and will be appearing in court in Toronto on Wednesday morning.
"After further investigation, no abduction occurred as reported," police said.
Earlier, police said that while Muhammad-Haroon might be missing, they had no evidence to back the story he was abducted at gunpoint.
"It is very much an ongoing investigation. We are going to exhaust all leads," Const. Wendy Drummond told ctvtoronto.ca on Tuesday afternoon about the case of Muhammad-Haroon.
He disappeared Saturday. He phoned a cousin at about 3:30 p.m. to say that three men, one with a firearm, were pursuing him. Police found his green 2003 Mazda Green MPV van shortly afterwards, but they didn't say exactly where.
The alleged abduction took place near Midwest Road and Midland Avenue.
Drummond said investigators could account for the missing man's movements up until the time of the alleged abduction.
"When it comes to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday afternoon when he was reported to have been abducted, we've got nothing," she said.
Drummond noted the alleged abduction would have occurred at mid-afternoon in a well-travelled, populated area. In addition, there are numerous businesses in the area with security cameras, and those cameras have not provided any evidence of an abduction, she said.
No witnesses stepped forward to say they witnessed an abduction.
Muhammad-Haroon has been described by family and friends as a young man of fine character.
However, it has emerged he is facing a charge of theft under $5,000. The charge was laid against him on Aug. 13. Const. Marlene Orlowski of York Regional Police told ctvtoronto.ca that the charge was laid in connection with the alleged theft of computer-related equipment from IBM, where the man had been working.
Muhammad-Haroon is to appear in court in Newmarket on Sept. 15.
At an emotional news conference on Monday, the University of Toronto student's family appealed for help in returning their son and brother to them. They did say no one had contacted them with a ransom demand.
He was to leave the country that Saturday to join the family on holiday in Dubai and had thousands of dollars in cash on him.
"Initially, there was obviously the contention that there was an abduction. Today, there's a contention that there's no abduction, and there's these allegations (of criminal charges) floating around," Shahzad Siddiqui, the family's lawyer, told CTV Toronto earlier on Tuesday.