Man reportedly kidnapped in Vancouver; police release video of victim
Police in Vancouver say they're investigating an alleged kidnapping in the city and have released surveillance video of the victim.
In a news release Monday, the Vancouver Police Department said they believe a 33-year-old man was kidnapped in the early hours of Sept. 24 near Oakridge Centre.
"We believe Jeffrey Lee was abducted by force and taken to an unknown location," said Sgt. Steve Addison in a news release.
"We don’t know exactly why he was kidnapped, but we know there are people out there who have information, and we’re asking them to come forward now."
In their news release, police said Lee was last seen by his girlfriend on Sept. 23 at about 10 p.m. Officers said he left her apartment in downtown Vancouver "to go gambling in the city's Oakridge neighbourhood." Police think he took a black BMW X5 and parked it near West 41 Avenue and Elizabeth Street.
At about 10:15 p.m., surveillance video from a nearby high rise shows Lee entering the building. He's then seen leaving just before 4 a.m. the next day. Police think Lee was taken while he was walking back to his car.
"The black BMW was located the next day with the driver-side door wide open, and we believe whoever kidnapped Mr. Lee did so as he was getting in his vehicle," Addison said.
"Although we’ve gathered a significant amount of evidence during the past four weeks and feel we are close to solving this case, there are still people with information who need to come forward."
These people may include those involved or others who know what happened, but could also be passersby who saw or heard something unusual.
Speaking at a news conference later in the day, the sergeant called it a "very concerning incident," which has been a high priority for the VPD.
He said the department has invested considerable time and resources in the case, but the investigation is still ongoing.
Because the case is ongoing, Addison said he couldn't answer all questions from media.
But he did answer a question from CTV News, albeit vaguely, about why police think the case is a kidnapping and not just an instance of Lee wandering off or choosing to disappear from his loved ones.
Addison said evidence gathered at the scene points to something more than in a typical missing persons case.
When asked if police think Lee is still alive, Addison replied, "We believe that something bad has happened to Mr. Lee… We believe that he was taken to an unknown location, and all of those details suggest that something very bad has happened."
Addison would not say whether police knew of Lee previously – saying Lee is the victim in the case "and that's what matters," – nor would he say whether they think the gambling is connected.
He also would not say whether there was any demand of a ransom.
Police said Lee was last seen wearing black shorts, flip-flops and a dark Hugo Boss hoodie. He had a grey shoulder bag with him and at the time of the alleged kidnapping he had short, black hair and facial stubble.
Anyone who saw Lee that night or has relevant information should call Vancouver police at 604-717-2541.