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Toronto parents beg for return of missing girl
( 2003-10-25 14:56) (Agencies)

The parents of Cecilia Zhang, a nine-year-old girl snatched from her Toronto bedroom in the middle of the night, made a tearful appeal on Friday to her unknown abductor for her safe return.

Sherry Xu (L) and Raymond Zhang plead for the safe return of their abducted daughter, nine year old Cecilia Zhang, at a press conference at Police Headquarters in Toronto, October 24, 2003. [Reuters] 
"As a father I beg you, look at Cecilia's face. Look at her eyes. What a innocent and lovely girl she is," Raymond Zhang said in a statement broadcast live on television and radio across Canada.

"I beg you, I beg you, Please, please, don't harm her. Let her go," he said.

Cecilia Zhang's parents discovered her missing on Monday morning when they went to wake the fourth grader for school, and police say they believe the girl is still alive.

"There is nothing to this end to lead us to believe otherwise," Toronto police spokesman Jim Muscat told reporters earlier on Friday. "We believe she is alive, we have reason to believe that. We have no evidence to the contrary."

Police have said they do not believe the abduction was random, or the work of a sexual predator, and have confirmed that ransom is a possible motive.

Cecilia's mother, Sherry Xu, sobbed openly as she struggled to read a letter she had written to her daughter.

"Although we are physically apart, my heart has never separated from you. Not a moment. Not a second," she said.

The family immigrated to Canada from China several years ago and Toronto police have been in contact with Chinese authorities in Canada as part of the investigation.

Police have ended a door-to-door search of the girl's middle class neighborhood in suburban Toronto and were following up on tips received since the girl disappeared.

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