Suspected serial killer charged with FIVE murders linked to gay community
An alleged serial killer has been arrested in Toronto and is facing a string of murder charges over the deaths of men linked to Toronto’s Gay Village.
Bruce McArthur, 66, who worked as a landscaper, faces five counts of first-degree murder over the deaths of victims with links to Toronto’s Gay Village.
Dismembered remains of bodies were found by police in planters at properties linked to McArthur, sparking a search for more remains at dozens of houses where he had been employed.
McArthur faces murder charges over the deaths of Selim Esen, Andrew Kinsman, Majeed Kayhan, Soroush Mahmudi and Dean Lisowick.
The men disappeared from Toronto between 2012 and 2017, but police are looking into McArthur’s actions as far back as 2010.
Investigators say that all five victims have links to Toronto’s Gay Village, raising fears among the city’s LGBT community.
To date, dismembered remains of at least three individuals have been recovered from the backyard of the residence. The remains have not yet been identified.
Detective Sergeant Hank Idsinga Hank confirmed that a “common thread” was that the victims “were from the gay village, or associated to the gay village”.
However, he declined to say if the victims had been lured to McArthur for hook-ups, insisting: “I’m not going to get into specifics about what their relationship was with Mr McArthur at this time.”
He added: “I can’t get too specific on that right now. The last two victims we’ve identified don’t quite fit the profile of the earlier victims. We don’t know how many more victims there are going to be but it certainly encompasses more than the gay community – it encompasses the city of Toronto.”
Idsinga added: “We know that many in the community are struggling to understand and process these developments. We would encourage you to talk to your friends and love ones.
“Our LGBTQ liaison officer and the service’s LGBTQ community consultative committee are available to anyone who requires support.
“We’re cognisant that people’s families may not know that they frequent the village in Toronto. They could come from anywhere in the [wider area], if they come into Toronto for an event such as Pride and then get reported missing. That’s obviously something we have to look at.”
Reading from a statement, he said: “On January 17, investigators uncovered evidence that provided them with grounds to believe that Mr McArthur was not only responsible for the death of Andrew Kinsman, but the death of Mr Essen.
“Further evidence was uncovered which led investigators to believe that Mr McArthur was responsible for the deaths of other, unidentified victims. On Thursday, January 18, Mr McArthur was arrested by Project Prism, and charged with two counts of First Degree Murder.
“Today, Mr McArthur was brought back and charged with three additional counts of First Degree Murder.”
Idsinga added: “Mr McArthur earned his living as a landscaper. Investigators have identified 30 properties where Mr McArthur worked. We have conducted searches at the majority of them.
“Mr McArthur is alleged by investigators to have committed five murders. The case is now before the courts.”
He added that they are still searching for remains.
The police official added: “We believe there are more remains at some of these properties that we are working to recover.
“We do believe there are more and I have no idea how many more there are going to be.”
Police have urged anyone who may have employed McArthur to contact them so they can search the area where he may have worked.
Idsinga added: “He’s taken some steps to cover his tracks and we have to uncover these victims.”
The police detective added that the force was dedicating “unprecedented” resources to the case.
He said: “We’ve never seen anything quite like this with the number of crime scenes that we have to process.”
Police may face questions themselves, as probes about suspicious disappearances in the gay village date back to 2012.
Idsinga said that “no evidence was found that would classify anyone as a suspect” by Project Houston, a probe into missing persons in the gay village that ran from 2012 until 2014. But one of the men whom McArthur has been charged with killing, Majeed Kayhan, was a subject of that probe.
It was only a more recent probe, Project Prism, that unearthed McArthur’s crimes.
McArthur was initially charged with two murders, with the remaining three charges announced later.
The initial police release said: “On April 14, 2017, Selim Esen, 44, was reported missing from the area of Yonge Street and Bloor Street.
“On June 26, 2017, Andrew Kinsman, 49, was reported missing from the area of Parliament Street and Winchester Street.
“Since August 2017, members of the Toronto Police Service have been investigating these cases, under the task force name of Project Prism.
“On Thursday, January 18, 2018, at 10:25 a.m., a man was arrested and charged in relation to this investigation.”
A later release added: “As a result of an ongoing investigation, on Monday, January 29, 2018, Bruce McArthur was charged with three additional counts of First-Degree Murder.
More from PinkNews
“Police allege he is responsible for the deaths of:
“Majeed Kayhan, 58, of Toronto, reported missing in October 2012
“Soroush Mahmudi, 50, of Toronto, reported missing in August 2015
“Dean Lisowick, 47, of no fixed address
“Police continue to search properties associated to Mr McArthur and are asking anyone who received landscaping services from him to contact police, if you have not been contacted already. ”
Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-2021, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), online at www.222tips.com, or text TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637).