Rilwan, a reporter for independent news website Minivan News, was last seen by his family and colleagues on August 7, 2014, according to news reports. A Minivan News report suggested Rilwan had been abducted during the early hours of August 8. A group of men appeared to be tracking Rilwan’s movements as he boarded a ferry to go home, according to the report which cited CCTV footage. A man dressed in dark clothes was forced into a vehicle at knifepoint outside Rilwan's apartment at around 2 a.m., according to the report which cited witnesses.
Rilwan, known to his Twitter followers as "Moyameehaa," often criticized local politicians and Islamists in his reporting. Before he went missing, Rilwan published a report about how local journalists had received death threats warning them against reporting on criminal gangs. He also wrote about Maldivian militants fighting in Syria.
Rilwan's family, friends, and colleagues organized search teams to try to find him. Rilwan's colleagues have repeatedly said in interviews that authorities were slow to act and that the official investigation has been inadequate, according to news accounts. They said that police took several days to search Rilwan's office for clues, and by August 2015 police had yet to categorize his case as an abduction, kidnapping, or missing person's case. Suspects implicated in the journalist's disappearance by police were able to leave the country to join the conflict in Syria, according to news reports.
In the weeks after his disappearance, the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives, an independent statutory body, suggested that authorities were not doing enough to investigate Rilwan's disappearance, according to reports. The United Nations also voiced its concern about the case.
In September 2014, Rilwan's family asked the Police Integrity Commission, an official oversight body, to investigate allegations of police negligence in the handling of the case. The commission agreed, but has yet to release a report on the matter, according to news reports.
Rilwan's family has supported calls for an independent inquiry into his disappearance, but their efforts have stalled, according to news reports.