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Who Is Riya Rajkumar? New Details About The 11-Year-Old Girl Killed By Her Father On Valentine's Day

Photo: Peel Regional Police handout
Who is Riya Rajkumar? New Details About The 11-Year-Old Girl Killed By Her Father On Valentine's Day

An 11-year-old Canada girl was found dead hours after her father picked her up to celebrate her birthday and Valentine's Day.

Roopesh Rajkumar, 41, was arrested and charged with the murder of his daughter, Riya Rajkumar, on Thursday when he failed to return her to her mother that evening. Within hours of issuing an AMBER Alert, authorities located the girl's body and took her father into custody.

"It's very heart-wrenching," Peel regional police Const. Danny Marttini said of the girl's death. "We have to remember that this is a family, and she's now moving forward without her daughter."

So who is Riya Rajkumar? Here is what we know.

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1. She was celebrating Valentine's Day and her birthday.

Riya spent Thursday celebrating Valentine's Day and her birthday with her mother before she was picked up by her father, who was supposed to have her back home a few hours later. The parents met at a gas station around 3 p.m., where Riya went with Rajkumar to continue celebrating with her dad, whom she did not live with full-time.

Peel Regional Police

2. Her father threatened to harm Riya and himself.

Riya's mother called police around 7 p.m. on Thursday after Rajkumar made threats to physically harm the victim and her mother, his former girlfriend, according to CTV News.

"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 said. "Obviously our investigators took action right away."

An investigation was launched in an effort to locate the 5th grader.

3. An AMBER Alert was issued.

Just after 11 p.m. Thursday an AMBER Alert was issued in hopes of finding Riya alive. Although the outcome was not what police hoped for, the alert directly led to her body and the arrest of her father, The Spec reported.

“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.”

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4. Her body was found around midnight.

Riya's body was found on the basement floor of her father's Brampton, Ont. duplex around midnight that night, about five hours after she was reported missing and in possible danger, CBC News reported. She was declared dead at the scene.

5. Her father was arrested and taken to the hospital.

Tips from people responding to the AMBER Alert led to Rajkumar's arrest, police said.

According to CTV News, Rajkumar was arrested by Ontario Provincial Police when authorities located him driving north on Highway 11 in Orillia, Ont., shortly after Riya's body was located. His arrest was considered a "high-risk takedown" and authorities took him to the hospital to be treated for a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

“When we did take custody of the individual… our officers at that time did notice that there was a medical concern,” Marttini said. “They were concerned about his wellbeing. At that point, that individual was taken to the hospital.”

Rajkumar was charged with first-degree murder and will appear in court once he is medically cleared, police said.


6. Police received "numerous" complaints about the AMBER Alert.

Marttini said police were getting a number of complaints saying the AMBER Alert issued for Riya had inconveniently woken them up. 

“You know, it’s unfortunate when an Amber Alert goes off in the sense that it disrupts people’s lifestyle,” said Martini, speaking to reporters on Friday. “But at the same point, we’re talking about a child that was missing and, in this case, the child was found deceased, and I think you have to weigh that out.”

Authorities took time to point out the importance of AMBER Alerts and their effectiveness, especially in this specific case that was reportedly "inconvenient" for some.

"Our communications bureau is receiving numerous calls to 9-1-1, complaining about the late hour of the Amber Alert. As a direct result of someone receiving the alert, we were able to locate the suspect & his vehicle. The system works. Thank you to all those that called with tips," Peel Regional Police tweeted just before midnight Thursday.

"We're talking about a child that was missing," Marttini said. "I feel for everyone, but given the circumstances, I think it did lead to the arrest of the individual. I think that's what we have to focus on."

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Sarah Gangraw writes about all things news, entertainment and crime. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter.