June 2017. The disappearance of one man, in a city of millions, triggered a series of events that ultimately unraveled a years-long mystery. It also set the stage for what is potentially Toronto’s largest ever crime scene.
His name was Andrew Kinsman. And it’s only now, months after he vanished, that we can definitively speak about him in the past tense.
Andrew didn’t just disappear. He was murdered. Horrifying new details are emerging almost daily: Dismemberment, body parts in planters, trophy photos, all validating a theory that has been floating around for years: That a serial killer was stalking men in Toronto’s gay village.
I joined CTV’s W5 in the fall of 2017. The first investigation I pitched, long before the gruesome headlines, was a story I had dubbed “The Missing Men of the Village.” That pitch began something like this:
“Fear lurks in a village where five men have disappeared without a trace, a mystery that has spanned 7 years and triggered two separate police task forces but few clues. Amateur sleuths have taken to analyzing the common links between these men:
- 49-year-old Andrew Kinsman disappeared after a Pride event in June 2017.
- 43-year-old Selim Esen disappeared Easter weekend 2017.
- 40-year-old Skandaraj Navaratnam last seen, Labour Day, 2010.
- 47-year-old Abdulbasir Faizi disappeared a few days after Christmas 2010.
- 58-year-old Majeed Kayhan vanished in October of 2012.
They were all middle aged, with facial hair, and most disappeared around a holiday or a long weekend. But the biggest connection is that all men were known to visit Canada’s largest gay neighbourhood, known as the Village, in Toronto. A safe haven in less gay-friendly times, many residents in the neighbourhood are once again fearful, this time over the question: Is someone “disappearing” the men of the village.”
We decided we’d tell the story from the perspective of the friends and families of those who had disappeared and started booking interviews, many telling us they feared a serial killer was responsible.
In fact, we had lined up a former serial sex crimes investigator who was prepared to go on camera with his opinion that, despite the police refusal at the time to use the words, there was simply was too much evidence to ignore the possibility of a serial killer.
January 2018. Seven months after Andrew Kinsman was reported missing, Toronto police finally gave voice to what had been whispered about for years, that the Village safe haven was actually a serial killer’s hunting ground.
Bruce McArthur, a man well known within the gay community has been charged in relation to five deaths, including men who’d quietly gone missing but hadn’t been connected to either task force. Toronto police expect more charges to be laid.
W5’s "The Missing" explores the lives lost, and includes an exclusive interview with the lead investigator who defends the way police handled the case.
"The Missing" airs at 7 p.m. Saturday on CTV.