DRPS Homicide investigators yesterday said Ariel Kaplan, whose body was found in a hockey bag in a pond in Uxbridge in May his year, was murdered late August 2021.
A police spokesperson, Det. Sgt. Doris Carriere, said the hockey bag in a private pond adjacent to the road, was noticed in November, but the body was retrieved on May 10, 2022.
Police, during a press conference in Whitby, appealed to the public for further information on this case.
Members of North Division responded to the area of Concession Road 6 and Allbright Road in Uxbridge on May 10, and recovered human remains. Shortly after this discovery, Durham Regional Police Homicide Unit, in collaboration with the Office of the Chief Coroner, identified the body as Ariel Kaplan. The results of the post mortem along with information obtained from the investigation has determined the deceased was murdered.
Toronto Police Service had initiated a missing person investigation in September 2021 and through DRPS investigation, it is now believed Kaplan was abducted from the area of Yonge Street and Sheppard Avenue in Toronto on August 29, 2021 before he was killed and his body disposed of.
Feared for his safety
His last known location was corroborated in part through cell data and interviews. Based on witness account, Kaplan appeared to fear for his safety in the days and weeks that preceded his abduction, said the police.
Investigators also believe that on the night of his disappearance, Kaplan had dinner with several acquaintances at a restaurant in the Yorkville area. According to witnesses and a review of the victim’s cell phone data, police believe he attended that restaurant sometime after 9 pm, on August 29, 2021. Police asked those who attended the dinner to come forward.
“We know from our interviews that Mr. Kaplan had ties to the Russian and Jewish communities in Toronto and further that he had business relationships with members of the Somalian, Italian and Mexican communities. As much as we are trying to identify the perpetrators, we are also interested in eliminating those that were not involved in his murder,” said Det. Sgt. Carriere.
“Ariel Kaplan was a son, a brother, an uncle; his death has deeply affected his family, his friends and his community. At this time, we continue to follow up on leads, but are appealing to the public for any information that could assist in solving this murder and provide some closure to those affected,” he added.
He said police would like to hear from anyone who had contact with Ariel Kaplan in any way around the time of his disappearance and in the weeks prior. “We would also like to hear from anyone who was present at the dinner with him on August 29, 2021 or any employees of restaurants in the Yorkville area that remember Mr. Kaplan at their establishment last year. If information is circulating within your respective community in relation to Mr. Kaplan’s murder, or if someone you know has shared information about this case, we would like to know. Any witnesses that have concerns with reaching out to the police for any reason can share their information through Crime Stoppers.”
This case is multi-jurisdictional and the Durham Regional Police Service have received the support of the Toronto Police Service in this joint investigation. The team has conducted well over 100 interviews and analyzed hundreds of thousands of data files and documents from dozens of judicial authorizations to advance this investigation. Analysis of cell phone data, social media, bank records and numerous enquiries with agencies from Canada and abroad have all been part of investigation.
Police have set up a dedicated toll free tip line for people to reach out to our investigative team. That number is 1-888-579-1520 ext. 5444.
Anyone with information pertaining to this investigation is asked to call Det. Graham of the Major Crimes – Homicide Unit at 1-888-579-1520. ext. 5418.