“The victim doesn’t speak much English. . . . He showed up randomly at the door in actually Gravenhurst area, having escaped his oppressors.” Listen to the full police scanner feed audio of the kidnap victim being found in Gravenhurst below the story.
The international student, kidnapped on the weekend and found Tuesday night in Gravenhurst, was released by his captors, York Region police say.
A homeowner on Doe Lake Rd., in the Muskoka Region town about a two-hour drive from Toronto, phoned police after Wanzhen Lu showed up outside their door shortly before 9 p.m., Const. Andy Pattenden told reporters Wednesday.
Lu, 22, had unspecified minor injuries and brought to hospital for a checkup, Pattenden said, but has since returned to York Region where investigators are interviewing him. Police are still looking for his kidnappers and Pattenden said the investigation is “far from over.”
When asked whether Lu escaped from captivity, Pattenden said that the student was released and police “believe it might have been a car that dropped him off in that area.”
What exactly happened between Saturday night and his appearance in Gravenhurst on Tuesday is still unknown.
Lu was forced into a van by three men in the underground parking garage of his Markham condo at 15 Water Walk Dr. near Hwy. 7 and Birchmount Rd., around 6 p.m. Saturday, police said.
Lu had left his vehicle and was walking across the parking garage with a female friend when three men got out of the van, one of them carrying a “conductive energy weapon,” grabbed him, police said.
The victim resisted and police said he was shocked by the suspects. Lu was then forced into the van and the suspects fled, police said.
His friend was left behind, unharmed.
The van was found abandoned in an undisclosed location Monday, with the plates removed.
A 35-year-old man arrested Tuesday morning in connection to the kidnapping was released with no charges.
Police are urging the four suspects to turn themselves in.
The first was described as wearing a mask, blue pants and a black jacket.
The second was described as 6-foot-1 with dark skin, wearing a black Canada Goose jacket. The third suspect also has dark skin and is 6-foot-2 with a heavier build, wearing dark blue jeans and a black jacket.
A fourth suspect was wearing a green and yellow jacket with a hood.
“This type of thing just doesn’t happen in York Region,” Pattenden said.
He added that Lu’s family, who flew to Canada from China, are aware their son is safe.
Lu’s Instagram account, which has since been deleted, had the tagline “fast cars lambo,” a reference to exotic carmaker Lamborghini. Media reports suggested he drove a number of luxury cars, including a Lamborghini, Rolls Royce and Range Rover.
Police have not confirmed if money was a motive for the kidnapping. On Wednesday, they said the kidnappers were never in contact with police or the family.
Pattenden earlier said the investigation consumed a huge amount of police resources as they searched for the missing man.
“The men and women of York Regional Police, I’ve never seen teamwork like this before,” he said, also thanking the public and media for relentlessly keeping attention focused on the case.
Alexandra Jones is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star’s radio room in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @AlexandraMaeJ