Toronto gay village murders suspect was under surveillance for weeks: source
Police discovered evidence pertaining to four different men in the Toronto apartment of Bruce McArthur, the man charged with murder in the presumed deaths of two men from Toronto’s gay village, CTV News has learned.
Leading up to his arrest, Toronto police had been following McArthur for weeks, during which he was followed to a wrecking yard where they say he was about to dispose of one of his vehicles. The police prevented the vehicle from being demolished and found blood in it, according to the source.
Police used evidence discovered in the vehicle to obtain a search warrant for McArthur’s apartment in Toronto’s Thorncliffe Park neighbourhood where, the source said, detectives discovered evidence related to four possible homicides.
McArthur was arrested on Thursday and has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the presumed deaths of Selim Esen, 44, and Andrew Kinsman, 49, who disappeared from the village last spring.
The 66-year-old man made a brief court appearance in Toronto on Friday morning. After the appearance, he was remanded into custody and is next scheduled to appear in court via video link on Feb. 14.
On Thursday, Toronto police said McArthur was accused of killing at least two men after the recent discovery of new evidence that gave them the “definitive link” they needed to make an arrest. Police also said investigators believe there may be other victims, but they did not elaborate on what led to that conclusion.
Police said they believe McArthur and Kinsman had been in a sexual relationship for some time, but they weren’t sure what his relationship with Esen was. The accused and the victims were all active on dating websites, according to police.
Project Prism, the Toronto police investigation into Esen and Kinsman’s disappearances, was sharing information with another police task force called Project Houston that was looking into the cases of three men from the Church and Wellesley area who went missing in 2012. One of those men, Skandaraj “Skanda” Navaratnam, is listed as a “friend” on McArthur’s Facebook page.
The announcement about McArthur comes just over a month after Toronto police reassured concerned members of the gay community that there was no reason to believe the disappearances in the village were related in any way or that a serial killer may be involved.
Police Chief Mark Saunders defended that earlier determination during the press conference on Thursday: “In policing, what we do is we follow the evidence and what I said at the time that I said was accurate at that time.”
Investigators have been combing five properties connected to McArthur. Four of those properties, including the apartment in Thorncliffe Park, are located in Toronto while the other is a home in Madoc, Ont. Joanne Irvine, a neighbour of McArthur’s in Madoc, said there was a heavy police presence there on Thursday and she could see investigators searching the back of the approximately 20-acre property.
None of the allegations have been tested in court.
With files from CP24 and The Canadian Press