Mariam Machniashvili Missing
How does a 17-year-old go missing from Yonge and Eglington? I used to live at Yonge and Eglington - it was one of the safest areas in Toronto: have things changed that much? Sure, there was the case of Allison Parrott in the 80s who disappeared and was murdered near Summerhill, but this is too much.
Police follow up leads in missing teen case
Updated: Sat Oct. 10 2009 9:03:44 PM
Dozens of Toronto police officers looking for clues in the case of a missing 17-year-old girl scoured the Yonge Street and Eglinton Avenue area a day after her schoolbag was found nearby.
While the family of Mariam Machniashvili remains hopeful their daughter will return home, police say that the bag's discovery doesn't point to foul play in the case.
Mariam was last seen walking to her midtown neighbourhood school with her brother on September 14.
Police have now established a command post close to where the bag was found.
On Friday, Mariam's father said that the discovery of the bag was a "step forward" in the case.
"I also try to not make any bad conclusions yet, because it doesn't mean we can make conclusions about her not being alive," Vakhtang Makhniashvili said on Friday, speaking to reporters outside his apartment on Shallmar Boulevard.
He continues to believe that his daughter, who will turn 18 on October 27, was kidnapped last month.
His wife, Lela Tabidze, also welcomed the discovery, but added that it was difficult to stay positive.
"Lots of thoughts are coming right now, but I don't think it's relevant to talk about it right now," she said.
"We want to see our daughter -- the faces we see of cheerful children, we want to see her among them," and asked people to come forward if they know anything.
The backpack, which was filled with school books, was found by a local resident on Thursday afternoon behind an apartment building at 120 Eglinton Avenue East. The passerby spotted the bag on an air vent in the building's parking lot.
Inside, some of the books were inscribed with Mariam's name.
The building is about two kilometres from Forest Hill Collegiate, the school where Mariam was last seen.
Police say that the bag is the first "tangible" piece of evidence they have found so far in the case.