Support for loved ones of missing LGBTQ men discussed at town hall meeting
Kayla Goodfield, CP24.com
Published Tuesday, August 1, 2017 4:51PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, August 1, 2017 10:15PM EDT
A town hall meeting was held on Tuesday evening in hopes of helping family and friends locate two men belonging to Toronto’s LGBTQ community.
Toronto police have been searching for 49-year-old Andrew Kinsman since his disappearance on June 26 and 44-year-old Selim Esen since he went missing in April.
The town hall meeting was held at 6:30 p.m. at The 519 community centre on Church Street in the city’s Church and Wellesley neighbourhood.
The organizers behind this meeting say they are looking to help the community deal with the disappearances of these two men and others.
“Long term, one of the things that was most difficult for me to see was Andrew’s family and close friends who are dealing with someone they just lost and also having to figure out what to do,” organizer Greg Downer told CP24 on Tuesday.
“We want to put some infrastructure in place so that if someone should go missing again then family, friends, colleagues don’t have to figure out what to do. We’ll help them with posters, we’ll help them with social media, we’ll help them with police liaisons, and media liaisons.”
Downer says police have no information in the five cases of missing men being discussed at the meeting.
“Three (of the cases are) from 4-7 years ago, Selim from April and now Andrew from June,” he said. “One of my hopes is that by keeping these faces in the news somebody who may have seen something out there in the community might remember that and hopefully that’s the clue that police need.”
Supt. Tony Riviere told CP24 on Tuesday that Toronto police were invited as guests to this meeting.
“It (the meeting) provided us with an opportunity for us to communicate and that’s one of the most important elements in this investigation,” he said. “The task force itself – it clearly came to our attention that the dedication of our officers wasn’t sufficient – we have officers with the best of intents that are doing multiple investigations.”
“The sheer volume of information that we received in regards to the two missing persons necessitated a task force and necessitated a more comprehensive, dedicated response and that is what we’re about to do.”
Although police have not found a link between these disappearances, they are considering them to be “suspicious.”
“Everything is on the table,” Riviere said. “We’ve been looking at all our options and that (a connection between the two cases) may come to play in some future date but as it stands right now there’s no evidence to link the two individuals.”