Secluded in his Brampton home, Mohamad Kajouji said he would give anything to go back in time and save his daughter from “the hell” she was living in.
Instead, Kajouji spent yesterday waiting for police to bring what is believed to be his daughter’s body to Toronto for an autopsy.
“The only one that could help her was me. If I knew the hell she was going through at that university, I would have dropped everything, packed up her stuff and brought her home,” Kajouji said, struggling through tears.
Troubling details from the weeks leading up to 18-year-old Nadia Kajouji’s disappearance have emerged since Sunday, when a boater discovered a young woman’s body snagged on a rock in the Rideau River.
The body has not officially been identified as the first-year Carleton student’s, but both police and Kajouji suspect it’s Nadia. The teen went missing six weeks ago after e-mailing a friend to say she was going skating on the Rideau Canal. Kajouji says all along police have hinted they suspected Nadia killed herself. But he couldn’t believe it — at first.
Nadia had been an exceptional student in high school and wanted to be a lawyer. She was cheerful, loved her family, playing the guitar and ice skating. But that was before she moved away from home. Then there was increased academic pressure and a boyfriend break-up.
Nadia had begun seeing a campus counsellor and taking anti-depressants. Police told Kajouji she had cut herself with razors and was known to walk the halls of residence, loudly threatening to hurt herself.
“When the police started telling me about her (at Carleton), I thought this is a mistake. That’s not my daughter. She was never like that. ... It was another life,” he said.
For days after her disappearance nothing changed. Her distraught family started looking for answers. That’s when officials from Carleton contacted Kajouji and told him about the counsellor she’d been seeing; that she’d confessed to having suicidal thoughts.
“I understand confidentiality and all that, but they contacted me three days later when she was already missing. Why not before? The doctor at the university knew everything that was going on in her life,” he said.
Police also unearthed a series of MSN conversations between his daughter and a woman believed to live in Minnesota. The last conversation took place just hours before Nadia disappeared. The woman, who apparently also suffered from depression, encouraged the teenager to kill herself.
“(At one time she asked) Nadia to post a webcam in her room so she could watch,” the teenager’s devastated aunt, Candita Martens-Mills, charged yesterday. “It’s repulsive.”
A spokesperson for Carleton University would not respond to questions about why the school did not contact Kajouji earlier.
“First, I have to bury my daughter. And then I’m going to make sure that every parent doesn’t go through this. That they check on their children,” Kajouji said.