Organized crime may be linked to murder of man whose remains were found in Uxbridge pond

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Published October 3, 2022 at 11:50 am

Durham Police are appealing to the public for help in solving the murder of a Toronto man whose body was found stuffed in a hockey bag in an Uxbridge pond, though they admit that the possibility his death was possibly related to organized crime makes their job “difficult.”

Det.-Sgt. Doris Carriere told assembled media members at a news conference Monday morning that Ariel Kaplan, 32, “feared for his safety” before he was abducted, murdered, stuffed in a hockey bag and then thrown into a private pond in rural Uxbridge last year.

Carriere said the investigation has revealed that Kaplan was last seen at a restaurant in Yorkville at about 9 p.m. on August 29, 2021, where he was dining with “business acquaintances.” Police believe he was abducted and taken to the Yonge Street and Sheppard Avenue area and murdered that night. The hockey bag was first spotted floating in the pond in November but the grisly discovery of what was inside was not made until it was fished out by a resident in May.

Carriere said there are no direct links yet with organized crime “but we are open to all avenues,” adding that “people in that community don’t typically talk to police.”

Kaplan worked in construction and real investing and had ties to the Russian and Jewish communities and business relationships with people in the Mexican, Somali and Italian communities, Carriere added.

Kaplan was also previously involved in some fraudulent activities linked to the buying and re-selling, or ‘flipping,’ of houses in the GTA.

Investigators with Durham Police and the Toronto Police Service have conducted 125 interviews and pored over data from cell phone records and bank records but are still hoping they can get a breakthrough from the case from the public.

“We’d like to hear from anyone who had contact with Mr. Kaplan or were at the restaurant that night,” Carriere said.

As to threat of reprisal against whistleblowers if organized crime is indeed involved, Carriere said there are “other ways” to contact police.

A dedicated Crimestoppers line has been establish for people to call with any information on the case: 1-888-597-1520 extension 544.

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