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Bradford canal murder victim belonged to LGBTQ2S+ community: police

'Somebody knows something,'; South Simcoe Police release new photo in hopes Mojtaba Shabani will be recognized

Police are renewing an appeal for information on homicide victim Mojtaba Shabani, 37, whose body was found in a barrel in the Bradford canal on April 15. 

The investigation has determined that Shabani, also known as "Erik", and "Moji", was a member of the LGBTQ2S+ community, and police have released a more up-to-date photo in hopes that someone will be able to recognize him and help police determine his movements in the days and weeks leading up to his death. 

"We are appealing to those members of that community who may know Mr. Shabani or have any information about his former whereabouts, his contacts, his friends, or close associates, any employers, any information is going to be very important to solving this case," said. Staff Sgt. David Phillips. “Someone knows something...We need you to come forward and assist police in advancing this homicide investigation. Your information, no matter how small or insignificant you may think it is, could be the key.”

Police are also appealing to motorists who drive on Canal Road, the area where the body was located, who may have noticed anything out of the ordinary or suspicious. 

How the homicide took place remains confidential. 

Police are still working to determine how long Shabani had been deceased before he was found in the canal. 

"It doesn't appear that it was a lengthy period of time, in and around that date," said Phillips.

Shabani was known to live in and frequent the areas of Church and Wellesley streets, as well as Keele Street and Finch Avenue, in Toronto.  

"We believe there may be other areas in Ontario that he may have resided, even out to the Durham area and possibly Simcoe County," said Phillips. 

In a previous news conference, three vehicles were identified as being linked to Shabani: 

  • 1- 2004 grey Honda Accord *CHAW891*
  • 2- 2001 blue Honda Civic *BVHR490*
  • 3- 2003 red Volkswagon *CFPC027*  

Police did not have any new information on Thursday regarding the vehicles. 

Shabani moved to Canada from Iran in 2010, and to date, police have not been able to identify any family or close contacts, said Phillips. 

Officer Mina Rahravan from York Regional Police made an appeal to the public in Farsi, for the Iranian community. 

Police thanked those who have come forward so far with information on the case, as well as the Toronto Police Services and York Regional Police. 

Police are urging anyone with information relating to the investigation to contact Detective Constable Andrew Smith at [email protected] (905) 775-3311 ext. 1043 or contact Detective Ben Irwin at [email protected] (905) 775-3311 ext. 1040, or contact Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477).

Natasha Philpott

About the Author: Natasha Philpott

Natasha is the Editor for BradfordToday and InnisfilToday. She graduated from the Media Studies program at The University of Guelph-Humber. She lives in Bradford with her husband, two boys and two cats.
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