After launching an unprecedented canvass of Mariam Makhniashvili’s neighbourhood and a second search of a garbage transfer station, investigators have begun to interview every student at the missing teen’s school.
Mariam disappeared Sept. 14 on her way to class at Forest Hill Collegiate. About 20 officers started questioning kids Monday and they plan to speak with all 980 students this week, apparently in batches of 30 or so pupils.
“I haven’t been told that they’re following up on anything, I know that they’ve had countless tips, but I don’t think that those tips have led them to anything yet, and so I think they just don’t want to leave any stone unturned,” school principal Peggy Aitchison said Monday.
This move comes despite the fact many of the students at the school say they didn’t really know the missing girl, who moved to Canada last June from Georgia. This is the third time investigators have reached out to Forest Hill Collegiate kids for help in this case.
Many students are skeptical that any answers are forthcoming.
“It seems like a last resort,” one young woman said on Monday.
“[The police] should have started earlier,” added another. “It’s hard to remember something from two months ago.”
Students can opt out of participating, and parents can attend interviews with their children.
“We have no suspects,” Det. Sgt. Dan Nealon said.
“At the same time, we still haven’t discovered a crime.”
Last week, police launched a door-to-door canvass of the missing teen’s Bathurst and Eglinton neighbourhood, with 60 officers visiting neighbours and distributing posters. Detectives also recently revisited the Ingram garbage transfer station near Keele and Lawrence, which processes waste from Mariam’s neighbourhood.
Authorities said the search yielded no new clues.
Perhaps the biggest development in the case was the discovery of Mariam’s backpack three weeks following her disappearance. Since then, police have scoured local parks using helicopters and seized several computers believed to have been used by Mariam at two of her local libraries.
Mariam was 17 when she disappeared, but has since turned 18.