March 9, 2012 by staff
Mariam Makhniashvili, The long and exhaustive search for teenager Mariam Makhniashvili, who vanished two and a half years ago, came to an end with the discovery of her body in a north Toronto ravine, police sources say.
The hunt for answers on how the girl died, however, continues. Homicide detectives are investigating, but it is not yet known whether her death was the result of foul play.
Police have scheduled a news conference Friday afternoon when they are set to update the public on the investigation.
Ms. Makhniashvili’s body was discovered near the Don Valley golf course at Yonge Street and Highway 401 in North York. Officers contacted Ms. Makhniashvili’s mother, Lela Tabidze, as they often do when unidentified human remains are discovered.
It took several days for investigators to positively identify the body.
Ms. Makhniashvili, then 17, vanished in September, 2009, a few months after moving to Toronto from the Republic of Georgia. She was last reported seen by her brother, George, as they walked to school. When they parted ways outside Forest Hill Collegiate Institute, she disappeared.
The case sparked intense public interest, as much for its mystery as anything else. Police canvassed thousands of homes, searched library computers she had used, scoured garbage dumps and released surveillance footage but turned up only one piece of evidence: the teen’s backpack, which was found weeks later a few blocks from the school.
Sightings of the girl were reported across the country – including among a group of hippies selling dreamcatchers in Alberta – but investigators chased down all of these leads, and none turned out to be Ms. Makhniashvili.
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