Alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur faces seventh murder charge
Jackie Dunham, CTVNews.ca
Published Wednesday, April 11, 2018 4:05AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, April 11, 2018 10:04PM EDT
Accused Toronto serial killer Bruce McArthur has been charged with a seventh count of first-degree murder, as police announced that the remains of three of his alleged victims have now been identified.
The Crown announced the new murder charge in a Toronto courtroom where McArthur appeared via video on Wednesday morning. The 66-year-old self-employed landscaper is already facing six first-degree murder charges in connection with the deaths of six men with ties to the city’s LGBTQ neighbourhood. Clad in an orange jumpsuit, McArthur spoke only once during the appearance to say his name.
The latest charge has been laid in the death of Abdulbasir Faizi, a 42-year-old married father of two who vanished on Dec. 29 2010. Police traced Faizi’s final whereabouts to a burger joint in the city’s gay village near Church and Wellesley Streets according to his bank records, CTV Toronto’s Tamara Cherry reported. She said his car was discovered six days later just around the corner from a house where human remains were recovered in planters in midtown Toronto.
Faizi was one of the men sought in the Toronto Police Service’s Project Houston, which was launched in 2012 to investigate the disappearances of three men from Toronto’s gay village. McArthur has already been charged in the deaths of the other two men, Majeed Kayhan and Skandaraj Navaratnam, included in the Project Houston probe.
In early March, police announced they had recovered at the remains of at least seven people from planters at a home on Mallory Crescent where McArthur kept his landscaping equipment. They said they had identified three sets of remains belonging to Andrew Kinsman, Soroush Mahmudi, and Navaratnam.
On Wednesday, lead investigator Det. Sgt. Hank Idsinga told a press briefing that pathologists have been able to identify three more sets of remains belonging to Selim Esen, Dean Lisowick, and Faizi. He said a seventh set of remains has yet to be identified.
Kayhan’s remains have not been identified thus far, Idsinga said. He said investigators haven’t ruled out that the seventh set of remains recovered in the planters belong to Kayhan.
Thanks to the evidence they’ve uncovered, police said they have also been able to determine that Lisowick was killed in April 2016.
Forensic teams are still collecting evidence from McArthur’s apartment in the city’s Thorncliffe Park neighbourhood. Idsinga said they have been able to obtain “quite a few exhibits” from the property and he expects they will be there for another couple of weeks.
“We’ve quite frankly never seen anything like it,” Idsinga said. “I think it’s easily set the record for a forensic examination of an apartment.”
Cold case files
Idsinga said the investigation has expanded to include 15 homicide cold cases from 1975 to 1997. He said the majority of the cases involve gay men or victims with links to the gay village. In addition to the cold cases, police have also increased the number of properties on their list to search from 30 to 75. Idsinga said they’re hoping to start searching these additional properties associated with McArthur in early May.
Serial killer expert Peter Vronsky said he wasn’t surprised to hear about another charge.
“The question is, how far are they going to go back?” he said. “How far are these names going to come from?”
Man still unidentified
Earlier this year, investigators took the rare step of releasing a photo of a dead man they believe was murdered by McArthur in the hopes of identifying him. The image showed a bearded middle-aged man with his eyes partially closed. Police said at the time that they believe the man was already dead when the photo was taken.
During Wednesday’s briefing, Idsinga said they have received more than 500 tips with more than 70 possible identities for the man in the photo. He said they have been able to eliminate the majority of those and they’re still looking into 22 potential identities. Police released a digitally enhanced version of the photograph along with a rendition of what the man may have looked like during the press conference.
“I would like to put a name to him before we do lay a charge and be able to get a time frame,” Idsinga said.
In January, McArthur was arrested and charged with the murders of Esen and Kinsman. The two middle-aged men were reported missing in 2017. Later that month, McArthur was charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of Kayhan, Mahmudi and Lisowick. In Feburary, he was also charged with Navaratnam’s murder.
McArthur is due back in court on April 25.
With a report from CTV’s Peter Akman and files from The Canadian Press