York University student Amina Lawal hasn't been seen since her 19th birthday on Friday.
As she left her home on Friday, March 20, Amina Lawal told her mother she was headed for a meeting at York University, where she is a student at the Schulich School of Business. That was the last time Funmiloya Odusola saw or heard from her daughter. It was Lawal’s nineteenth birthday.
Now Toronto police are appealing to the public for information on her whereabouts, and fear she may be in danger.
“She called me around 6:30 to say she was on her way, and that’s the last time I heard from her,” Odusola told Torontoist this afternoon. She said it is “very, very unusual” for her daughter not to show up after calling, let alone disappear for several days. “I just don’t know…I’m praying nothing happens to her.”
Friends and family, who describe Lawal as an energetic and engaged young woman, are bewildered by her sudden disappearance. “When I heard, I was confused, because she’s not the kind of person to just wander off without telling you where she’s going,” said Oluwagbemisola Dada, the president of York’s African Students Association, of which Lawal is an executive member. Dada described Lawal as “hard-working, friendly, warm….Once you get to know her, she likes making people laugh.”
Association members have tried in vain to contact Lawal, and are reaching out to the school and local communities to take up the search. “We’ve sent mass emails as York to find out if anyone has seen her,” Dada said. The group plans to post flyers on campus and in the surrounding neighbourhoods.
Lawal lives with Odusola near Kingston Road and Beechgrove Drive in Scarborough. Police do not appear to have any leads as to where Lawal may have gone after leaving her home. Toronto police spokesperson Victor Kwong said that police are “totally dependent” on public and media assistance when someone goes missing.
The press release of Lawal’s disappearance has been shared thousands of times over social media since its release yesterday. Dejoure Boland, who hung out with Lawal and played on the same sports teams throughout high school, is currently studying in Fort McMurray, Alberta, but learned of Lawal’s disappearance yesterday through Instagram. “I was completely shocked,” Boland said. “Her friends are calling her repeatedly, and the fact that she’s not answering is scaring us.”
Princess Owusu, a childhood friend of Lawal’s, has been posting the TPS press release incessantly on social media to alert friends and the media. Owusu said that although she and Lawal have lost touch recently, she was deeply affected by the news. “Even though I haven’t been in contact with her, as soon as I saw this I had to know that she is okay,” Owusu said.
Odusola has been scanning her neighbourhood with family and friends in the hope of finding her daughter. “It’s been terrible,” she said. “I haven’t slept in four days.” She’s also appealing to the public to take up the search.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Amina Lawal is urged to contact Toronto police by phone at (416) 808-4300, anonymously through Crime Stoppers at 416-222-TIPS (8477), or online at www.222tips.com. Police are also accepting information via text message (text TOR and your message to CRIMES [274-637]), and through Facebook.