Toronto Police have provided a huge update on the Amber Alert that was issued overnight on March 4. Officers say the case is being considered as a live abduction and that it's believed Shammah Jolayemi was taken as "retribution" for an unpaid drug debt. The 14-year-old boy is still missing.
Jolayemi, who was last seen on Wednesday, March 4 at 8:25 a.m. near the intersection of Jane Street and Driftwood Avenue in Toronto.
He reportedly screamed for help as he was forced into a black jeep.
At 6:15 p.m. on Thursday, March 5, Toronto police Superintendent Steve Watts said in a live press conference on CP24 police have reason to believe he was taken as revenge for a drug debt owed by his stepbrother.
“We believe that Shammah was abducted as retribution for an unpaid drug debt," Watts said, as quoted by Global News.*
"Investigators believe that Shammah’s brother, Olalekan Osikoya, owes a large debt in relation to a multi-kilo cocaine rip, and has since left the (GTA).
"This is a live abduction."
According to City News, police say the drug deal in question dates from last summer and involves 100 kg of cocaine worth approximately $4 million.
Watts also revealed that there has been communication with the abductors, per CTV News. However, he would not elaborate on what that "communication" entailed.
Police say the drug deal in question goes back to the summer of 2019 and involves 100 kg of cocaine worth approx. $4 million— CityNews Toronto (@CityNews Toronto) 1583450618.0
"This is a 14-year-old innocent child, he is not a part of that business," said Watts to the gathered reporters.
At the time of their release, Toronto police said they wanted to speak to the child's step-brother, Osikoya.
Per City, Osikoya has now been located and is cooperating with officers.
Police had been seen scouring the city earlier on Thursday in an attempt to find the youth.
Throughout the news conference, Watts repeatedly refused to speculate on the condition of Jolayemi. He says police have not received any word of the boy's health despite their contact with the abductors.
He did, however, insist that police have no reason not to believe the child is still alive and still in Ontario, per CBC.
Watts added that a burnt-out vehicle found in Caledon earlier "appears to be the vehicle of interest."
Per the Toronto Police release, Jolayemi is described as around six feet tall with a slim build and short, dark brown hair.
He was last seen wearing a grey hooded sweater, grey track pants with a thin orange stripe, a shiny black puffy winter coat, black and yellow Air Jordan shoes. He may have been carrying a red and black Adidas backpack.
The case is being classified as a "live abduction," said Watts.
The Amber Alert remains in effect at the time of writing.
*This article has been updated.