Body of member of Toronto’s LGBTQ community found in barrel north of town

Police are searching for clues after the body of a man they say is a member of Toronto’s LGBTQ community was found in a barrel in a canal about 60 kilometers north of the city last month.

Mojtaba Shabani, who also went by the names ‘Erik’ and ‘Moji’, was found in the Bradford Canal on April 15, according to South Simcoe Police. His death has been ruled a homicide and police are calling on anyone with information to come forward.

Shabani moved to Canada from Iran in 2010 and is believed to have frequented and frequented the Keele Street and Finch Avenue area, as well as the Church and Wellesley area, also known as the Village.

To date, investigators have been unable to locate any of Shabani’s local or international relatives, police said in a news release Thursday.

“As part of the investigation, the police are trying to piece together Mr. Shabani’s life, particularly over the past year,” the statement said. In particular, investigators are looking to speak to anyone with information about their ex-partners, family, friends, employers or recent moves.

“Somebody know something,” said the master sergeant. Dave Phillips. “We need you to come forward and help the police move this homicide investigation forward. Your information, no matter how small or insignificant you may think, could be key.”

Police said they have extensively surveyed the area near where Shabani’s body was found and are now asking motorists who travel frequently to the area to make contact if they witness anything suspicious.

Police have also released a new photo of Shabani in hopes someone will recognize him and come forward.

Anyone with information is asked to call (905) 775-3311 ext. 1043 or ext. 1040, or contact Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477).