Purple lights mark one year since tragic death of 11-year-old Riya Rajkumar
Riya Rajkumar is seen in an undated photo on the left and the Mississauga clock tower lit purple is seen on the right of this composite image.
TORONTO -- The Mississauga clock tower will be lit purple Friday night to mark one year since Riya Rajkumar was tragically killed on her 11th birthday.
An Amber Alert was issued in the evening hours of Feb. 14, 2019 as an investigation into the abduction of the young girl was launched at around 7 p.m.
At the time, police said Riya Rajkumar’s 41-year-old father, Roopesh Rajkumar, was with his daughter celebrating her birthday but failed to bring her back to her mother’s home at the agreed upon time.
Investigators said Roopesh Rajkumar had made comments to the girl’s mother indicating that he planned to do harm to himself and their daughter.
The Amber Alert was cancelled in the overnight hours as police confirmed the girl had been found dead inside a Brampton residence.
Roopesh Rajkumar lived in the Brampton home, according to investigators, and the young girl did not reside with her father on a full-time basis.
Peel Regional Police’s homicide and missing persons bureau took over the investigation and Roopesh Rajkumar was taken into custody.
On Feb. 20, 2019, police confirmed Roopesh Rajkumar had died in a Toronto trauma centre, where he had remained with a self-inflicted gunshot wound since being taken into custody. He was facing a charge of first-degree murder.
Community comes together to mourn death of 11-year-old girl
In the days that followed Riya Rajkumar’s death, the community of Peel Region came together to honour the 11-year-old’s life.
A candlelight vigil was held for the Grade 5 student on Feb. 19, 2019 and hundreds of teddy bears and balloons were placed at a memorial outside the Brampton home.
At the vigil, a statement was read by police on behalf of the young girl’s mother, Priya Ramdin.
“She was a social butterfly who loved to spend time with family and friends,” Ramdin’s statement read in part. “I can’t believe that she is no longer here with me. I remember our last moments on her birthday… Earlier that day we went to do our nail and her choice of colour was red. She was so excited for her birthday, looking forward to having dinner later that evening.”
“Never did I think that my daughter would not return back to me.”
Community leaders, including Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie, attended the vigil one year ago.
On Friday, Crombie shared how Peel Region is continuing to honour the young girl on what would have been her 12th birthday.
“Tonight, the clock tower will be lit purple in honour of Riya Rajkumar whose life was tragically taken one year ago today,” she wrote.
The colour purple commonly represents domestic violence awareness.