On his way to work on the morning of March 9, Superintendent Scott Weidmark received a call from his 12 Division station where he’s the unit commander.
“I was told there was a missing abducted girl,” he recalled. “A few minutes later 680 News was broadcasting it.”
Police were looking for a black Toyota Camry that was stolen from a driveway with a four-year-old girl inside.
Detective Ranbir Dhillon and Sergeant Juan Quijada-Mancia, who was the abduction call incident commander, were already on the scene managing the case by the time Weidmark arrived at work.
“Ranbir was doing his investigative work and Juan, who has military experience, was rapidly organizing every resource to throw into this,” said Weidmark. “Frontline officers had to deal with some language issues, but within a very short period of time, we had hundreds of cops from all over the Greater Toronto Area. By the time I got out there, Canada Border Services Agency was notified, Peel Police had six cars attending, the Ontario Provincial Police was on it and the Amber Alert was flashing on highway signs. We had cars from all over Toronto Police coming to that division and going out in an organized search.”
The vehicle was located three hours later with the girl safe inside, abandoned by the thief. A passer-by notified police.
Specialized Emergency Response Police Dog Services Michael Quinn said Quijada-Mancia’s professionalism on the scene was impressive.
“I was so impressed with Juan’s confidence and his ability to make knowledgeable and sensible decisions. When I arrived on the scene and learned what he had done and what was planned next, I knew right away that I could step back and monitor the search. He conducted the search perfectly and guidance from Search Management was minimal,” Quinn said.
The Toronto Police Operations Centre also played a huge support role to find the abducted girl.
“We were responsible for notification through social and mainstream media to reach the widest possible audience to locate this young child,” said Superintendent Hugh Ferguson. “We ensured that the Ministry of Transportation was notified so that the signs could be changed to broadcast the message that the child was missing. The Corporate Communications officer up here is responsible for liaising with the media. We were also responsible for moving the resources that are required to assist in the search.”
The media broadcasted the information of the Amber Alert steadily throughout the morning, alerting the public about the vehicle and child's description.
TPOC also ensured surrounding Greater Toronto policing agencies were notified about the missing child, as well as Canada Border Services Agency. Ferguson said beyond social media, the Amber Alert was also pushed as a notification on the TPS mobile app.
“The good news is that the young child was found in a very timely fashion, not too far away from her house.”