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Police have evidence of four murders in Church-Wellesley investigation: source
Chris Herhalt, CP24.com
Published Friday, January 19, 2018 5:40AM EST
Last Updated Saturday, January 20, 2018 4:55PM EST
Investigators have evidence suggesting the suspect accused in the deaths of Selim Esen and Andrew Kinsman may also be responsible for two other deaths.
A source tells CP24 that a police search of murder suspect Bruce McArthur’s Thorncliffe Park home yielded information about four homicides.
McArthur was charged with first-degree murder in connection with Esen and Kinsman’s deaths on Thursday and made a brief court appearance Friday morning.
None of the charges have been proven in court.
McArthur was detained as part of an investigation called “Project Prism”, which looked at the disappearance of both men.
Both men were reported missing from the downtown area within 45 days of each other last year. Their bodies have not yet been found.
The men, along with the suspect, were known to frequent the Church-Wellesley Village.
Police said Thursday they believe McArthur is responsible for the deaths of other men, though they did not say how many other victims they were looking for. They also didn’t say who or what led them to that conclusion. No additional charges have been laid against the suspect.
The source told CP24 that McArthur had been under surveillance for some time when he allegedly attempted to enter an auto wrecking yard, presumably to have his vehicle destroyed.
Police intercepted McArthur and found blood in the trunk of his vehicle, the source said.
The blood evidence was then used to obtain a search warrant for his apartment on Thorncliffe Park Drive.
In the apartment, the source said police allegedly located evidence of four homicides, including the alleged murders of Esen and Kinsman.
McArthur appeared in a College Park courtroom just before 10 a.m. on Friday.
He said nothing and was ordered remanded into custody until his next appearance, scheduled for the morning of Feb. 14.
Police said Thursday that McArthur owned his own landscaping business, called Artistic Design.
Investigators searched four addresses in Toronto connected to McArthur as well as a property in Madoc, Ont., approximately 220 kilometres away.
On Friday afternoon, a Toronto police forensics van pulled up to a home in Madoc. OPP cruisers could be seen parked outside.
CP24 Crime Specialist Steve Ryan says surveillance is a fairly common activity for police.
“If you run a project and names come in, some of that investigation requires surveillance then you would just put a surveillance team on somebody and you never know where that person will lead the team."
McArthur’s arrest came not even two months after Police Chief Mark Saunders said that there was no evidence the men were dead or that cases were connected.
A homicide detective said yesterday new evidence surfaced this week that gave them a "definitive link," but did not say more.
In December, Saunders said he could not call the disappearances homicides or even say if they were related.
“In policing what we do is follow the evidence and what I said at the time that I said it was accurate at the time," Saunders said yesterday.
Friends of the victim question police investigation
Standing outside the court, Alphonso King and his husband John Allen told CP24 they went to the proceedings because they wanted to see the man accused in the killing of their acquaintance, Andrew Kinsman.
They criticized the police service’s priorities concerning the cases of five men who have gone missing in the Village — including Esen and Kinsman — since 2010.
“It took someone who was white to be the catalyst for them to get up and do their jobs,” King said, referring to Kinsman’s disappearance, the last of the five to be reported missing.
“One thing they could have done is instead of being so obsessed with marching in the Pride Parade, they could have taken more interest in this case,” Allen said.
King said that since the first man, Skandaraj Navaratnam, went missing in 2010, there have been concerns among those who live or frequent Church-Wellesley Village that foul play could be to blame.
“Back then everyone was thinking it was a serial killer,” adding that he works in the heart of the Village in nightlife, and has not seen an increased police patrol presence since Esen and Kinsman went missing.
Navaratnam was last seen on Sept. 16, 2010 after leaving a bar in the Church and Wellesley area with another man.
Police said at the time that Navaratnam left his dog behind when he disappeared, which was extremely unlike him.
Navaratnam was Facebook friends with McArthur.
Later that same year, Abdulbasir Faizi disappeared from the Church and Wellesley area. His car was later found on Moore Avenue near Mount Pleasant Cemetery.
In Oct. 2012, 59-year-old Majeed “Hamid” Kayhan was last seen in the Church and Wellesley area.
The investigation into the disappearances of the three men formed police Project Houston, but none of the men were ever found.
Speaking to reporters before McArthur’s first court appearance, Toronto Mayor John Tory said it is right for the community to question the police’s actions.
“There are questions being asked and they’re quite proper, they will have to be answered over time but in the meantime the police continue with their investigation and I know they’re working hard to make sure they solve all these cases and bring people to justice who have done these terrible crimes.”
Victim’s family respond
Speaking to the media about their brother, Andrew Kinsman’s sisters Patricia Kinsman and Karen Coles said he was “kind, generous and frugal.”
“He was a happy, caring individual who would give you the shirt off of his back, even if he bought it at Salvation Army,” Patricia said.
They both said neither of them had heard the name Bruce McArthur before, and that they feared foul play as soon as they heard of their brother’s disappearance.
Patricia Kinsman said her brother went missing without leaving his 17-year-old cat any food or water, and that was extremely unlike him.
She said the searches for Andrew took them all around green spaces throughout Riverdale and up and down the Don River Valley.
“In the forest we found needles and more, but we never found Andrew.”
She said her call with investigators where she learned an arrest had been made put her “into a state of shock.”
“I’m relieved he’s been caught but let’s get justice for Andrew and Selim and the others,” Patricia said.
Karen Coles said that the families of three other men missing from the Church and Wellesley area should keep up the pressure on police and the public in locating them.
“Keep their names in the media, keep it public. Hope and keep searching, we never gave up hope, we searched and searched.”