A grieving mother is seeking answers after her 25-year-old son died just days after finding new footage allegedly showing the kidnapping and torture of so-called “crypto king” Aiden Pleterski.
Video first emerged of Pleterski swollen to squinting and scarlet bruises shadowing his eyes in July 2023, six months after he was allegedly kidnapped, tortured and beaten by a group of people demanding a $3 million ransom. of dollars.
The 12-minute video, posted on an anonymous social media account, shows Pleterski apologizing to investors in a hoarse voice while rocking back and forth in front of a nondescript wall.
- Watch CTV W5’s investigation “The Crypto Bros” in the player above
Pleterski’s lawyer has claimed that some of the statements in that video were coerced.
But those clips were just a glimpse of raw footage taken during the three-day incident, according to Tracy Collins, mother of the deceased Clayton Soyka.
In the weeks before Collins lost her son, she said he told her he had seen the unedited version, which she said sounded more like a Netflix drama than real life.
Aiden Pleterski in a video posted in July 2023 after he was allegedly kidnapped, tortured and beaten six months earlier.
As a friend of Pleterski, Soyka had a front-row seat to the $40 million investment scheme that was supposedly behind the so-called “cryptocurrency king.”
“There was water torture, they tied up pigs and shot a gun near his head,” Collins told W5 in an exclusive interview.
Collins said he asked his son to show him the video, which allegedly contained dehumanizing images of Pleterski tied up in the back of a truck at a McDonald’s. But she said he indicated she no longer had access to him. Instead, she shared a screenshot of Pleterski’s wounded face with her mother.
In it, he is barely recognizable and appears transformed and swollen.
A screenshot of Aiden Pleterski and Clayton Soyka on a video call after the kidnapping.
“I was worried about Aiden,” Collins said. Text messages obtained by W5 suggest that Pleterski “hid out” in Soyka’s Toronto apartment in the weeks after his alleged captors released him.
But Collins was worried about her own son. She said he told her that she knew who was responsible for the kidnapping and that they were “bad people,” but that she was “protected” because she knew too much.
Clayton Soyka’s mother, Tracy Collins, looks out the window during an interview with W5. Two days later, he was dead. Police believe he took his own life and are not investigating his death.
“It doesn’t make sense,” says the mother
Within hours of Soyka’s death on March 20, her phone and computer disappeared from her apartment, according to Collins, recounting the painful day.
“Has no sense. How would everyone know he died so quickly?
The Toronto Police Service declined to comment on what happened to Soyka’s personal items, which officers later tracked down and seized at an undisclosed location.
Nearly a year later, police have not returned Collins’ phone or computer.
Tracy Collins shows W5’s Avery Haines text messages with her son. Detectives confirmed to W5 that they are not investigating Soyka’s death, but his electronic devices are being held as evidence in an investigation into Pleterski’s alleged kidnapping, they said.
While Collins acknowledges that her son struggled with mental health and substance use, she still believes there is more to the story of his death.
“It doesn’t add up. If it was a suicide, why did all this happen in a matter of hours?
The funeral, flanked by security guards, raised more questions for Collins. He had not hired the detachment, one of whom was next to the coffin. Investigators were also present, taking photographs of license plates and interviewing attendees.
“The funeral was just ridiculous,” he said.
Although he didn’t find him, Collins said Pleterski was at the funeral and left a note describing how his son had cared for him and always put others first.
Clayton Soyka, friend of Aiden Pleterski and 25-year-old model who passed away on March 20, 2023. After the funeral, he reached out to Pleterski and many others, trying to find out what happened the day his son died.
Many did not respond, but Pleterski did.
“I don’t know exactly what happened simply because I wasn’t there,” reads a message sent from Pleterski’s phone, obtained by W5. “Frankly, I don’t believe what anyone tells me unless I’ve witnessed something myself… I don’t even have a complete conclusion about what happened, and I’m not sure I can. “That’s the hardest part for me.”
Closure is exactly what Collins is looking for. “I would like to know what happened to my son,” she said.
‘I really miss the boy’: Pleterski
While W5 aired an investigation into Pleterski on Saturday nightlaunched a livestream, a common occurrence for the 25-year-old who broadcasts his life online to a small audience.
About an hour into the broadcast, a viewer asked about Soyka. “I was literally around him almost every day,” Pleterski said, pausing a virtual casino game to lean into the camera.
Visibly nervous, Pleterski acknowledged that the police have Soyka’s possessions.
Aiden Pleterski reacts to a viewer’s question while hosting a live stream on February 3, 2024.“They thought there was evidence there that could lead to what happened to me, for example, regarding the kidnapping,” he said.
The viewer then seemed to strike a chord, probing Pleterski about the death.
“You don’t know him like I knew him,” Pleterski continued. “You don’t know him like his parents knew him. You don’t know him like his fucking friends knew him. “You didn’t even know the boy.”
“It’s very sad. I really miss the boy,” he said.
CTV News Toronto and W5 continue to investigate the so-called “king of cryptocurrencies.” To submit a story tip, contact [email protected].