Police linked McArthur to 3 victims during 2013 interview: court docs
Toronto police are investigating the disappearances of Skandaraj "Skanda" Navaratnam, Abdulbasir "Basir" Faizi and Majeed "Hamid" Kayhan. (Handout)
Codi Wilson, CP24.com
Published Thursday, February 21, 2019 8:01AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, February 21, 2019 12:29PM EST
WARNING: Details in this story may be disturbing to some readers
Toronto police were able to establish a “link” between Bruce McArthur and three of his victims in 2013 when the serial killer was interviewed by officers involved in the ‘Project Houston’ investigation, court documents show.
New details of a Nov. 11, 2013 police interview with McArthur have emerged following the release of an unsealed judicial order.
The documents show that officers involved in Project Houston, an investigation probing the disappearances of 42-year-old Abdulbasir Faizi, 58-year-old Majeed Kayhan, and 40-year-old Skandaraj Navaratnam, were able to tie McArthur to all three of the missing men back in 2013.
McArthur was asked to speak to police as a witness in the investigation after officers found McArthur’s online username “silverfoxx51” in Navaratnam’s deleted email contacts as well as a notepad belonging to Faizi.
McArthur’s phone number was also found in Navaratnam’s email contacts.
During the video interview, McArthur was shown a photo of the three missing men. He confirmed that he knew Navaratnam through a mutual friend but said he did not recognize Faizi. He could not confirm his own whereabouts on the day of Navaratnam’s disappearance and said he only learned that Navaratnam was missing through missing person posters in the Church-Wellesley Village.
McArthur admitted to being involved in a sexual relationship with Kayhan for a period of time but said he could not remember the last time he saw him. He told investigators that he had known Kayhan for approximately 10 years and ended a sexual relationship with him because, according to McArthur, Kayhan was always asking McArthur to “buy him things.”
McArthur was not treated as a person of interest or a suspect in the Project Houston investigation, which was shut down in 2014 without any significant conclusions.
McArthur was convicted of assaulting a man with a metal pipe in 2001 but it is not clear if investigators in Project Houston conducted a background check on McArthur when they interviewed him in 2013.
McArthur was arrested in January 2018 after a new investigation, dubbed ‘Project Prism,’ was launched in August 2017. Officers in Project Prism were tasked with investigating the disappearances of 49-year-old Andrew Kinsman and 44-year-old Selim Esen.
Last month, McArthur, a 67-year-old former landscaper, pleaded guilty to eight counts of first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of eight men, including Navaratnam, Kayhan, Faizi, Esen, and Kinsman. McArthur was sentenced to life in prison and will be 91 years old before he is eligible to apply for parole.
The dismembered remains of all eight men were found at a property on Mallory Crescent where McArthur stored tools for his landscaping business.
Many members of the LGBTQ community have been critical of the Toronto Police Service’s handling of the McArthur case.
Police have been accused of ignoring members of the community when they voiced concerns about a serial killer targeting men in the city’s gay village.
Toronto police have subsequently launched a new missing persons unit and a third-party investigation is currently underway to look into the police service’s handling of a number of missing persons cases.
Police tracked McArthur’s cellphone, ‘covertly’ installed video cameras
The recently unsealed documents also show the tools investigators used to keep tabs on McArthur in the months before his arrest.
Investigators followed McArthur on an “almost daily basis” after Nov. 8, 2017, the day he officially became a suspect in Kinsman’s death.
Police also obtained judicial authorization to track McArthur’s movements and contacts through his cellphone.
Officers “covertly” installed a video camera at the home on Mallory Crescent and at one point in the investigation, detectives tracked the cellphones of the couple who owned the property, according to the documents.
The movements of McArthur’s minivan were monitored through GPS tracking.
Officers tailing McArthur in the months before his arrest observed him doing landscaping work across the city and visiting properties in Mississauga and Bowmanville. He visited the home on Mallory Crescent nearly every day.
Officers even followed him to Agincourt Mall, where McArthur worked as a mall Santa Claus over the holidays.
The documents indicate police covertly entered McArthur’s apartment on two separate occasions in early December to search for evidence.
During those searches, the documents note, police found sex toys in McArthur’s bedroom, along with a pair of dark leather gloves, different ropes, a roll of duct tape, and a metal bar.
Investigators also copied over data from McArthur’s digital devices, however, police have previously said that time constraints prevented officers from downloading the entire hard drive of McArthur’s desktop computer.
The documents indicate that investigators found photos of Kinsman, Esen, Navaratnam, and Kayhan on McArthur’s digital devices as well as screengrabs of news articles in relation to Project Prism.
Two photos of Navaratnam found on McArthur’s computer appear to have been downloaded just days before the 40-year-old disappeared, police reported in the documents.
A picture of the missing person poster of Navaratnam, Kayhan, and Faizi was also found on McArthur’s devices.
More than a month later, on Jan. 17, police said the data from McArthur’s devices was re-examined by investigators. Police said that is when they obtained deleted images of Esen, Kinsman, and other unidentified men who appeared to be deceased.
“Plans had been in effect to apply for an execute search warrants at several addresses in the upcoming days. However, as a result of the photos which were viewed on January 17th, 2018, which depicted deceased males believed to be in McArthur’s bedroom, it was decided that McArthur would be arrested immediately,” the court documents read.
McArthur was arrested on the morning of Jan. 18th after police observed him taking a man up to his apartment.
When officers entered McArthur’s unit, they found the man naked and handcuffed to McArthur’s bed.