Wednesday 15 May 2019

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Before I take you to the case of the Bruce McArthur serial murders, I will tell you of two cases I worked on for Ontario Legal Aid in 1964.That was the first Legal Aid office in Canada. Its two-room office was on King Street West in downtown Toronto.  It comprised of the director, his secretary and me. My job was to investigate the crimes committed by the accused persons who came to our office seeking lawyers who were willing to take their cases for no fees to be paid to the lawyers. Thee lawyers were willing to work for mothing but they didn’t want to hire a private investigator to do the investigations for them so I was paid $75 a week ($225.00  in the year 2019)  by Ontario Legal id to conduct the investigations for the lawyers

That same year, one of the law firms asked me to investigate a case in which their client was serving a sentence of life in prison for murdering his mother. When I went to the house where the murder took place, the landlady took me to the deceased woman’s bedroom. I was the only person who entered that room after it was locked eighteen months earlier when the police investigators were finished with their investigation.   

The first thing I noticed that convinced me that something was amiss was that the foot of the bed was pulled away from the wall. The victim didn’t do, the police didn’t do it and neither did the landlady do it. That meant that the murderer did it.  But why? The convicted son was right handed. That being as it was, he could have easily stuck his mother’s head with the leg of the broken chair by standing at the head of the bed. However, a left handed man would pull the foot of the bed away from the wall and then walk towards the woman’s head and strike her on her head. It’s an interesting theory but could I prove it? No problem. There was a pillar next to the wall. The killer while he brought the broken leg backwards, blood splatter would land on the wall behind the pillar. Her blood was on the wall as I had surmised

Oh. Here is something that will amuse you. The left-handed man was a fellow roomer who told the police that he saw the son kill his mother. The police believed him.  They were too lazy to conduct a real investigation since they had a witness to the crime and that was good enough for them.                                       

A proper investigation was conducted after the police read my report and it was the woman’s blood on the wall and the blood was also on the left-handed man’s under shirt that he should have thrown away but chose not to.

The left-handed roomer was subsequently arrested and charged with the woman’s murder but he died before his trial was to begin. Of course, the son’s conviction was vacated and he was immediately set free.

If the original police officers who arrested the son had conducted an investigation like I did, the son wouldn’t have spent the next eighteen months in prison for a murder he hadn’t committed.

And now, the  second case. Solving that case appeared to me to be a very difficult one to solve. It also involved the murder of a woman.

In 1964, a man lived in an apartment over a Chinese restaurant in Toronto. The building was close to the corner of C0llege and  Spadina.   One day, a prostitute he knew called him and asked him if she could spend the night in his apartment. He agreed. He told her to not ring the bell at the front of the building as it didn’t work. He said that she should walk into the dead end lane beside the building, then climb up the fire escape, cross over the roof of the shed and knock on the apartment’s kitchen window. He would then open the window and help her into the kitchen. She said that she would be there at ten that evening.                                                                        While he was waiting for her, he began drinking bottles of beer. At midnight he was totally drunk. He suddenly heard a sound coming from the back of the apartment in the area of the kitchen. He saw a black image silhouetted against the building behind his building that was lit up from the street lights. He  forgot that it was the prostitute he was expecting and believing that it was a burglar trying to get into the kitchen, he placed his hands around her throat and strangled her.  He suddenly realized that it was the prostitute so he pulled her into the kitchen via the opened window and dragged the unconscious woman into his living room and onto the sofa. He tried to resuscitate her but he was unsuccessful so he called the police.

They accused him of murdering the woman in his living room despite that he said that he strangled her thinking that she was a burglar trying to get into his apartment via his kitchen window. They didn’t believe him. He told the police that there was a witness in the lane that could verify that he was fighting with the woman at the kitchen window. When he told them that he didn’t know who it was, they told him that they weren’t interested in his version of the events. The arrested him and charged him with what was then called capital murder which was a hanging offence in Canada.  

His lawyer contacted me and asked me to find the unknown man in the lane that saw what was going on outside the kitchen window  and who called out, “Hey. What’s going on up there?”

In 1964, there was approximately a million people living in Toronto and I was to find the unknown man who was in that dead end lane that early morning.  Talk about looking for a needle in a hay stack. I would rather have been given that that task.

In one day, I found out who the  unknown man was. There was a tavern around the corner and I figured that the unknown man was probably in the tavern that early morning, so I went to the tavern that night and made enquires and a man told me that he knew who the man I was looking for. His street name was Moose.  I also knew that man. His friend told me that after they left the tavern at midnight, they were walking west on College Street and Moose had to take a pee so he walked into the dead end lane to do it. The next day I interviewed Moose who was in jail for some minor offence and he gave me his written statement as to what what he saw. I also had a private investigator take the fingerprints from the underside of the railings of the fire escape. They were the fingerprints of the dead prostitute. The charge of capital murder was withdrawn and replaced with manslaughter since he was drunk when he strangled her. He was sentenced to prison for five years and released in four years.                                                                
Those stupid police officers were too lazy to go to the trouble of looking for the unknown man in the lane that night. If I hadn’t found the man, the accused man would have been hanged.

Since I have given you the appetizers, I will now give you the main course. 

There is an LGBT-oriented enclave in downtown Toronto It is roughly bounded by Gerrard Street to the south, Yonge Street to the west, Charles Street to the north, and Jarvis Street to the east, with the core commercial strip located along Church Street from Wellesley south to Alexander. Though some gay and lesbian oriented establishments can be found outside this area, the general boundaries of this area in Toronto has been defined by the residents living there as the Gay Village.

While the neighbourhood is home to the community centre, parks, bars, restaurants, and stores catering to the LGBT community (particularly along Church Street), it is also a historic community with Victorian houses and apartments dating back to the late 19th  and early 20th  century. Many LGBT people also live in the nearby residential neighbourhoods of The AnnexCabbagetownSt. James TownSt. LawrenceRiverdale and the Garden District, and in smaller numbers throughout the city and its suburbs.

When Abdulbasir Faizi and Majeed Kayhan vanished without a trace from Toronto’s Gay Village more than six years ago, it may have taken a while for people in the village to realize that the men were missing because they were living double lives according to their friends. All three missing men had similar skin colour, were active in the same bars and quiet about their personal lives.

The disappearances of these three men between 2010 and 2012 were investigated by Toronto police as part of Project Houston, a task force launched in November 2012. Later, five more gay men vanished which caused great fear in the gay village.

The eight missing men were; Kirushnakumar Kanagaratnam, Majeed Kayhan, Skandaraj Navaratnam, Abdulbasir Faizi. Selim Esen, Soroush Mahmudi, Dean Lisowick and Andrew Kinsman. 

McArthur, whose full name is Thomas Donald Bruce McArthur, attended Fenelon Falls Secondary School in the Kawartha Lakes area north of Toronto. He shared anti-Trump content, liked images of tropical birds, and posted pictures of himself dressed for his part-time job as a mall Santa.  McArthur seems to have encountered money problems in the late 1990s, first mortgaging his Oshawa house in 1997 and then declaring bankruptcy in 1999. The house was sold in 2000, and records indicate that at that point, McArthur was still married.

Bruce McArthur was married, has two children, a son and a daughter. Before it was disabled following his arrest, the Facebook page of Bruce McArthur, who the Toronto police later arrested him as a serial killer, was filled with recipe videos, cat pictures, and photos of his children and grandchildren.

By 1999, McArthur was socializing with members of Toronto's gay community, according to a man who was friends with Skandaraj Navaratnam, a gay man. McArthur came into the picture" of Navaratnam's life in 1999 and that the pair began a romantic relationship that lasted until at least 2008. He went missing in 2010. He was the first man to vanish from the Gay Village.

McArthur was originally living in a high-rise apartment on Don Mills Road in Thorncliffe Park, a 10-minute drive away from the apartment on Thorncliffe Drive that he was living in at the time of his arrest. Prior to his arrest, McArthur was self-employed as a landscaper under the company name of Artistic Design.

His client list appeared to have been long. The police revealed that they had been in the process of investigating some 30 properties where he may have worked. 

Karen Fraser, the owner of the house on Mallory Crescent where human remains were found by police, told CBC that McArthur had an arrangement with her to store tools in her garage, a set-up organized by McArthur's sister.

McArthur was also active on online dating apps like manjam and silver daddies, often using a variation on the username "silverfox."

The Globe and Mail has also reported that McArthur had a profile on fetish dating site Recon in which he asks to be contacted by "submissive men of all ages."

Serial killers 'cunning and crafty,' but few are clinically insane; they just enjoy hurting people. McArthur wasn’t insane at all.

When the Toronto police first announced that McArthur had been charged in the deaths of two men, they skirted the subject of whether or not the crimes he was accused of should be defined as serial killings by saying that was a media definition. Actually it is also a legitimate  description of persons who murder a series of victims in various locations at various times.

Police had been leading an investigation into the disappearances of three men from Toronto's Gay Village between 2010 and 2012 but had resisted calls from some gay members in the community to link the disappearances to a potential serial killer.

Over the centuries there have been hundreds of documented cases of serial murder around the world but the term “serial killer” is relatively new. Up until the 1970s, serial killers were generally called mass murderers by both the criminal justice system and the media. The difference between mass murderers and serial murderers is that the former term applies to killers who kill a number of persons generally in one location whereas a serial killer murders a number of persons at different locations at different time.

A shop owner whose shop was located roughly 70 kilometres (roughly 43 miles) northeast of Toronto, said that the police first came looking in October, 2018 for McArthur's vehicle that was a Dodge Caravan.

While the police examined the vehicle, they found some blood on the floor of the van. Unfortunately, they couldn’t match the blood with any of the victims because when their bodies were later  recovered in his customer’s large flower planters, there was nothing in them but his victim’s bones and skulls.

This raises an interesting question. What did he do with his victim’s flesh and organs” 

The television show W5 had spent months investigating the shadowy and twisted world of cannibal fantasy websites, as they began retracing the first police probe into three men who had disappeared from Toronto’s gay village between 2010 and 2012

For 7 months, the police investigators in Project Houston were operating on the theory that Skanda Navaratnam, Basir Faizi and Majeed Kayhan, may have been victims of cannibalism.

There was no evidence in the van that showed that the men were butchered for the purpose of cannibalism. But what requires an answer is what did the serial killer do with the flesh and organs of his victims?

On another occasion, Bruce McArthur pressed down on a victim’s throat resulting in the man then suddenly fighting for his life had he had one thought: “I gotta get out of this van—it’s all I’m thinking.” Shocked and confused, his heart racing, the man struggled underneath McArthur as the now-convicted killer pinned him with his body weight, one arm pushing firmly and steadily into his neck, another pressing the man’s arm down. After what felt like an eternity, unable to breathe and seeing black spots, the man was able to turn himself over and, “with every last ounce of energy,” he push McArthur off of him and escaped with his life.  Did he tell the police about McArthur trying to kill him?

There were a lot of whispers in the Gay Village about Bruce McArthur’s interest in  bondage, sadism and rough sex.

 It was the first day of September 2017, now more than two months since Andrew Kinsman, a well-liked fixture in Toronto’s Gay Village, was last seen. A The Toronto police investigator’s  task force was to probe his disappearance and that of Selim Esen, another Village regular who vanished in April 20q8. They had a promising lead by using surveillance video and vehicle registration records, they believed they had identified McArthur as the man who picked Kinsman up at the exact time he disappeared.

One day after Detective David Dickinson. who was a Project Prism investigator, who had found Bruce McArthur’s name on an Excel spreadsheet, was at a towering apartment complex overlooking the Don Valley. A property manager at 95 Thorncliffe Park Dr. soon confirmed that McArthur was still leasing a 19th   -floor unit, with a roommate.

while at the 95 Thorncliffe address, (the police had previously gotten McArthur’s address from the registration records) the investigators gained access to the building and its parking garage that was controlled by electronic key fobs. That meant they could determine when McArthur came and went, based on records for his unique fob. There were also surveillance cameras in the underground parking area, although the footage from June, which might have given a clue to Kinsman’s whereabouts, had already been erased.

The recent video still proved useful because at times that corresponded with McArthur’s fob, it showed a red 2004 Dodge Caravan exactly like the one seen outside Kinsman’s home. It featured the same roof racks, chrome accents on the doors and black rain deflectors. Then, in mid-August, the footage showed McArthur driving an upgraded van; vehicle registration records confirmed he’d just bought a 2017 Dodge Caravan from a dealership in Windsor.

An officer called the dealership and took a statement. McArthur had bought the van over the phone. He wanted the cheapest model, didn’t care what colour and said it was for his father-in-law. When he came to pick it up, he spent just 10 minutes at the dealership and paid by certified cheque.

Meantime, Prism investigators brought in the Toronto police’s mobile support services that is a little-known branch of the intelligence section. The unit supports criminal probes with surveillance, anything from surreptitiously shooting pictures of suspects to tailing them through the city. The Prism officers needed to know McArthur’s routines, his habits and schedules.

The investigators built out a profile of the man. He was white, five-foot-nine and 205 pounds, with grey receding hair and brown eyes. They scraped his Facebook page, noting how many friends he had and their family connections. He was once married. He had a son, and was friends with a younger woman which the Police investigators deduced was his daughter. Around the year 2000, McArthur came out as gay and separated from his wife before moving to Toronto from Oshawa. He’d since started his own landscaping company, Artistic Design, and worked all over the Greater Toronto  area. (surrounding communities)

The investigators did background checks on McArthur’s family. His son had more than 30 criminal convictions for harrassment-type offences and was living with his father at 95 Thorncliffe as a bail condition on a new charge.

Bruce McArthur also had a criminal record. In one case, he violently assaulted a man in 2001, on Halloween. The victim told police that both men had been on Alexander St. in the Gay Village when McArthur trotted after him into a nearby building and asked about his plans for the night. As the victim moved to unlock a security door, McArthur suddenly hit him in the skull and ribs with a metal pipe. When the victim called 911, McArthur attempted to rip the phone cord out of the wall. Soon after, he turned himself in to police. In 2003, he was handed a two-year conditional sentence for the assault. That meant that he wouldn’t be seen to prison or have a criminal record. His sentence required that he abstain from the consumption of amyl nitrate, also known as poppers, that he was not to be in the presence of male prostitutes, and that he was to stay away from a section of downtown Toronto that included the Gay Village.  Obviously, he disobeyed that last order.

The revelation that McArthur was interviewed during Project Houston was officially made public that year. It has only strengthened a belief held by some in the LGBTQ community and beyond that Toronto police failed to act on earlier opportunities to solve the Village disappearances — and save lives.

Unfortunately, there was no real evidence that Bruce McArthur was a serial killer who had killed the missing men. For the most pat,  I can’t totally fault the police in the manner in which they conducted the investigations of the missing men. There was no eyewitnesses that saw him in the presence of the victims just before they disappeared. After all, how could the police have brought McArthur into an interview room so early in the case without any real evidence to pin on him.  They would have  to let him go.  If they questioned him about the missing men, he might have stopped killing more men but then again, after having been released after the interrogation, he might have felt more sure of himself  before killing more male victims.

It’s not clear if the investigators placed any importance on McArthur’s 2003 conviction. The conviction is not mentioned in a Project Houston court application outlining why McArthur was called in for an interview.

McArthur agreed to voluntarily answer questions about the missing-person cases in the Village. In a videotaped interview on Nov. 11, 2013, McArthur confirmed he knew Navaratnam through a friend. He told Detective McKenzie and the other officer they’d socialized together as part of a large group that met on Sundays at the Black Eagle, at the time a hangout for middle-aged gay men into wearing leather clothing. He denied he ever had a sexual relationship with Navaratnam which was a lie  and claimed he’d found out about that man’s disappearance through the missing-person posters put up all over the Village.

According to court documents detailing the interview, McArthur did not admit to knowing Faizi. He even said that he didn’t recognize him from a photograph shown to him by the detectives.  But McArthur confirmed that the Silverfox account was his, as it was written in Faizi’s notebook which is evidence that he lied to the detectives about not knowing faizi.

McArthur also offered up a surprise. He told the officers he knew Kayhan, who was the third missing man. They had met 10 years earlier at Trax on Yonge St., one of the city’s oldest gay bars, now-closed. They’d had a relationship but McArthur said he’d broken it off. He told police Kayhan would repeatedly ask McArthur to buy him things. He also said he gave Kayhan a job landscaping, but said he’d refused to do any work.

Watching the video of the interview nearly five years later, Dickinson said in an interview that McArthur seemed believable. He came across as calm, just like any other witness interview that wants to help out” Didn’t the lie about McArthur actually knowing Faizi when he denied knowing him warn the detective that something was amiss?

The interview connected him with the missing men but it wouldn’t  have been unusual for him to know the victims since the people in Gay Village were all members of a close-knit community.

Toronto police Inspctor. Hank Idsinga said in a later interview that at the time of McArthur’s 2013 interview, all the police knew was that the three men were missing. A lead investigator on both the Houston and Prism probes, the officers had no evidence the men were murdered, or kidnapped or had died from a drug overdose or suicide, or anything else that might explain their disappearance. In this scenario, McArthur could not have been be a suspect or person of interest.

By early September 2017, the Project Prism team was learning McArthur’s schedule through close monitoring by the surveillance team. He was out the door by 9 a.m., travelling across the GTA gardening and maintaining yards for clients in Mississauga, Bowmanville and Toronto. He was usually home by 9 p.m. Was the surveillance done onl five days a week or all seen days in the weeks?

His most frequent stop was to 53 Mallory Cres., a stately two-storey home on a quiet Leaside cul-de-sac. A few minutes’ drive from McArthur’s apartment, on the edge of the Lower Don Valley, the home was frequently his first or last stop. Surveillance officers watched him doing yard work and accessing the garage, and later installed a camera on public property aimed at the garage door.

The surveillance team was also on the lookout for an opportunity to get a sample of McArthur’s DNA — samples can often be obtained through discarded items, such as a coffee cup or cigarette butt. Just a few days into their surveillance, investigators spotted McArthur going into a Church Street Second Cup. They grabbed his plate and a fork after he left, and then  sent them to he Ontario’s Centre for Forensic Science. Incidentally, I studied Forensic Sciences at that entre for nine months as part of a five-year criminology program at the University of Toronto. 

In mid-September, police got the court’s permission for an intrusive move in which the investigators would place a tracking device on both of McArthur’s vans—the 2004 Dodge Caravan they believed he used to pick up Kinsman and the new 2017 model he bought in August.

With respect to Kinsman who was one of McArthur’s victims, he was fascinated about serial killers. Police found movies, drawings and writings about notorious serial killers who targeted gay men or raped male victims on Kinsman’s computer equipment and a friend suggested Kinsman may have discussed the psychology of serial killers with McArthur.

Police were told that over the Christmas holidays that  Kinsman was filling holiday bags to give clients when Kinsman told a female friend that he had a sexual relationship with a man who, like him, was “very into the psychology of serial killers and how they functioned. He was obviously talking about McArthur.  Kinsman did not reveal the man’s name but said they got together for “hook ups” every month or so. Kinsman was known to have had sexual encounters with McArthur before his murder.

In Kinsman’s computer’s hard drive, there was a partition that was labelled “pictures/murder” with various drawings and writings related to Dennis Andrew Nilsen, a convicted serial killer in England. The similarities between McArthur and Nilsen are striking. Both were seemingly respectable men who preyed on vulnerable gay men, befriending potential victims and luring them to their homes;. Both men strangled their victims and both dressed and undressed their victims’ dead body before cutting them up.

The police documents say that the police found several photographs of McArthur’s dead victims dressed and posed in the same fur coat, sometimes also with a fur hat and an unlit cigar dangling from their lips.

In the same partition, labelled “pictures/bruce,” officers found 12 photos of McArthur. All were portraits of the killer taken outside in a garden on September 11, 2010, using a Nikon D2X camera, the same model camera the police later found in Kinsman’s apartment.

Once McArthur was deemed to be the killer they were hunting, Toronto police investigated and cleared several people he was close to in case any had knowingly helped him in his horrific deeds.

“During the course of the investigation, a number of McArthur’s friends and family members were identified and the possibility was explored that they might have participated with him in the offences alleged. It turned out they didn’t have  anything to do with the missing men’s deaths.

However, Detectives looked into McArthur’s family, who seemed to help him get rid of his old van after police started tracking it, and helped him buy a replacement in a hurry in August 2017, according to the police documents.

Police spoke with staff at Windsor Chrysler about the purchase of McArthur’s replacement van and learned a relative called saying he “wanted the cheapest van,” the documents say. He used the name of a Chrysler Canada employee, presumably to get a deal on the price. Was it McArthur’s son who made that call?

Det. Const. Joel Manherz, who joined Prism from the sex crimes unit, prepared the application for a warrant. His job in the task force was as the affiant, the officer who writes documents that lay out the evidence for the judge who rules on the warrant. His affidavits — dozens of which were released largely unredacted ( not blacked out ) showed that  investigators’ had early suspicions that McArthur may have been responsible for not only the death of Kinsman, but also the disappearances of Esen, Navaratnam, Faizi and Kayhan. Though there was no concrete evidence linking the men, Manherz noted their similarities in which all were middle-aged and bearded, they all frequented the Black Eagle; they were all self-identified “bears,” a persona of gay men he defined as “a larger, hairier man who projects an image of rugged masculinity.”

Adding to the concern of police and the LGBT community, is the fact that four other self-identified men from the LGBT community had gone missing from the Gay Village since 2010 and all of them under mysterious circumstances.

In order for the police to start considering McArthur as a suspect, not just a person of interest, the Prism officers needed to know exactly where he went and who he interacted with. A tracker could lead them to key evidence if placed on McArthur’s vehicle.

Detective Manherz wrote;  “If we were to assume that McArthur was responsible for Kinsman’s death in some way and possibly the deaths of the other four males, the tracking devices could reasonably lead us to where he may have discarded the body or bodies.” That would be effective if he transported the bodies to a forest but that wasn’t where he put the skeletal remains.

In days, they had the warrant and covertly placed a tracker on McArthur’s new van. Police started receiving real-time GPS information about McArthur’s whereabouts immediately thereafter. But there was a major problem. The old van, the one seen picking Kinsman up was gone along with the tracker.

Arthur had taken the van to the Bowmanville address of one of his relatives after he bought his new van. Officers checked on it four times in early September. Each time, they saw it still parked in the driveway.  But when they returned later in the month, it had vanished. It could be in the garage, they rationalized, so an officer returned the next day. It was still missing; a few days after that, it was nowhere to be found.

By early October, the van had been missing for about two weeks, and the team was getting frustrated. They knew the vehicle potentially contained evidence about Kinsman’s disappearance.

“OK, let’s go find this thing,” Dickinson told the group at one of their roundtable meetings. “We need to find this van.”

Prism investigators McKenzie and Det. Conststable Patrick Platte, checked auto yards near Bowmanville. They went to three with no luck before pulling up to Dom’s Auto Parts in nearby Courtice. Manager Dominic Vetere checked his records and confirmed: they had a van with that vehicle information number. His documents confirmed McArthur was the previous owner.

,The tracking device on McArthur’s new van provided a detailed window into his daily movements which were entirely benign. Police watched as he worked a mostly predictable Monday to Friday landscaping schedule. They tracked him as he dined on sushi with friends, went to Costco and home improvement stores, ran errands, stopped at Tim Horton’s, visited the Bowmanville homes of his daughter and his ex-wife.

During the Prism round table meetings, the investigative team would discuss other potential leads. Officers checked back in with witnesses, including two Australian adult film stars who may have spent time with Kinsman during Pride weekend, right before he went missing. One told police he’d been at a “leather love” party Friday night and at a superhero party Saturday. Kinsman might have been at one them, he said, but he wasn’t sure. It was just one lead the team pursued, then determined was irrelevant and closed off.

One witness, who McArthur tried to strangle, told police he had casual sex with McArthur a number of times but didn’t know much about him, even calling him “Mr. Mysterio.”

 A longtime friend of McArthur’s said that after a dinner meeting in 2017 with McArthur, the two started kissing in the back seat of McArthur’s van. After a sex act, McArthur “grabbed him by the back of the neck in a forceful manner.” He grabbed McArthur’s elbow and freed himself. The man “feels that if he hadn’t escaped, the encounter with McArthur would have been fatal.

By now, the police must have been convinced that McArthur was probably the man who had something to do with the disappearances of the six missing men. 

McArthur’s old 2004 Caravan was towed from the Courtice scrap yard to the Toronto police Forensic Identification Services for testing. The van had a lot to say in evidence.

Forensic scientists found blood in 17 places, including on the steering wheel, the inside of the driver’s-door window, the back of the driver’s seat and four areas in the trunk. They also detected semen and acid phosphatase, a constituent of semen.

Police already had Kinsman’s DNA profile from a toothbrush taken from his apartment. That sample could now be compared to the blood detected in the van. It offered the first chance for the team to definitively link McArthur to the missing man.

Forensic scientist Nicole Vachon’s report came back with a strong match, linking Kinsman’s DNA to his  blood found in the van.

On November 8th, 2017, Toronto police upgraded Bruce McArthur from a person of interest to a suspect in the murder of Andrew Kinsman. But although it was a major development, they decided the blood wasn’t enough for an arrest since it was in minuscule amounts, the largest drop about the size of a penny; and could likely be explained away by a defence lawyer, who could explain another way Kinsman’s blood was in the van, like an accidental cut.

The team continued surveilling McArthur, through physical surveillance and the van tracker but not just to solve the crime, but also to mitigate the risk the suspected murderer might have posed to the public.

But it wasn’t just Kinsman’s blood in the van. The forensic tests showed the presence of two different male profiles and officers started on a mission to identify the others. Police checked for matches with Navaratnam, Faizi and Kayhan and they had DNA samples from all three Project Houston cases but none were found in the van. That wasn’t a surprise because McArthur had purchased the van after they went missing.

The obvious next step was to test if either sample could be Esen’s blood. But first, they needed to obtain his DNA. A Turkish-speaking Toronto officer was recruited to contact Esen’s brother Oguz in Turkey to see if he had Esen’s toothbrush or hairbrush, but he didn’t. The officer then requested Interpol’s assistance to obtain a DNA sample from Oguz, which would provide familial DNA. But crossed-wires with Turkish authorities caused delays and the expense of sending a package by courier was too much. Ultimately, Dickinson sent a mouth swab in the mail, along with enough Turkish lira to cover return postage.

One of the two unidentified DNA profiles carried a different mystery. It came from blood found only at front of the van, including from an opening where the speedometer panel had been removed. Police theorized that whoever had removed the panel had cut themselves sometime after the van was junked at the scrapyard. They went back to Dom’s Auto Parts, pulled receipts of speedometer purchases and contacted the buyers, but no one had purchased a speedometer from McArthur’s van. Vetere, the owner, then arranged for an employee who worked on the van to give his DNA, but the results  came back negative. The Police never did find a match of Esen’s DNA.

The surveillance team had, meanwhile begun tracking McArthur’s friends and associates, including his roommate and an on-again-off-again younger boyfriend. In late November, they got the court’s permission to monitor McArthur through his cellphone data. The authorization allowed police know the people he was talking to.

By December 5th, the police had built a strong enough case against McArthur to ask for the investigative power that comes with a “general warrant.” When granted, it gives police the right to use a broad suite of investigative techniques or procedures, including searching and seizing property. In a detailed affidavit, Detective Manherz alleged that McArthur while acting alone or with an unknown person, murdered Kinsman. He also stressed the potential link to the missing Essen and the Project Houston cases.

Investigators werecontinuing to seek out evidence of the crime committed against Essen along with evidence relating to the disappearance of the other four men from The Village.

McArthur’s apartment was among “the best places to search for the existence of that evidence, in a covert manner without him knowing that the police were in his apartment.

Bruce McArthur was arrested on suspicion that he may be involved in the disappearance of two Toronto-based men. However, after his arrest, police learned that he may have also been linked to several more disappearances. Within a few days, police combed through his customer’s properties in and around Toronto and it didn’t take long before they found human remains in his customer’s flower planters. Those remains were then tested for DNA to see if they match any of the men currently linked to McArthur. The Toronto Police also said that McArthur may have used and flower pots in his clients’ properties to hide all of his victim’s remains and sure enough, that is where he had placed all of his victim’s remains. He did this while the owners were not in their homes.

Not long after the January arrest, McArthur was charged with the murders of three more men, including Dean Lisowick, a homeless prostitute who struggled with drugs, and Majeed Kayhan, a 58-year-old Afghan immigrant with a family and children, who was reported missing by his son in 2012. 

Friends said Kayhan had a sexual relationship with McArthur. The third was Soroush Marmoudi, a 50-year-old immigrant from Iran who was reported missing by his wife in 2015. His remains were found during the search for other alleged victims, but his relationship to McArthur is unknown.

McArthur was charged with the murder of Skandaraj Navaratnam, a refugee from Sri Lanka.  Friends said McArthur employed and had a sexual relationship with Navaratnam, who was last seen in 2010 leaving Zipperz, a now-closed gay bar. 

Lisowick, who was in his mid-40s, hadn't even been reported missing when police announced that he was one of victims. 'He was pretty much a loner most of the time,' said Jeff Tunney, a friend who rented the common area of his apartment to Lisowick for two months. 'He really didn't know too many people. He had a hard time trusting people.”  It is too bad that he let his guard down.

The police also checked at least 30 other places McArthur was known to have worked, including in some of Toronto's wealthiest neighborhoods, but they did not find any more remains in the planters taken from those homes.

All told, the skeletons of eight victims were found in the planers. I don’t think there were any more victims.

McArthur did not entered a plea when he was brought to court.  Meanwhile, he was under a suicide watch.  

McArthur’s eight guilty pleas marked the culmination of a year-long effort from police to bring the 67-year-old former landscaper to justice, one that began in earnest when officers apprehended him at his east Toronto home in January 2019 and which continued with successive discoveries of each victim’s remains at his customer’s  properties  where McArthur often worked.

Toronto Police Det. David Dickinson, who helped lead the force’s investigation, said he thought McArthur’s admission of guilt was the best possible outcome, since it meant that the friends and families who knew and cared for the victims won’t have to endure a lengthy trial.

McArthur’s guilty pleas came slightly more than a year after his arrest on January 18, 2018, initially on two counts of first-degree murder, and exactly a year after the force upped the murder charges against him to five. By mid-April McArthur’s alleged victims totaled eight.

In an agreed statement of facts presented in Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice, McArthur acknowledged that he intended to kill all eight men and subsequently dismembered each of their bodies in a bid to avoid being caught. Police later found the men’s remains either in planters to which McArthur tended at a property in Toronto’s Leaside neighbourhood or buried in a ravine behind that house.

Court heard that six of the eight murders McArthur committed were “sexual in nature.” Evidence mentioned in the statement of facts suggests McArthur used ligatures in five of the murders and also confined two of the men with ropes. Some people like being bound during the sex act. That may have what happened in the sex acts McArthur had with his eight victims. However, they may not have wanted to be bound but went along with it in order to please McArthur.

He retained items belonging to some of them after they died, including Esen’s notebook, Lisowick’s jewelry and Navaratnam’s bracelet. After he killed Faizi, his second victim, on or around Dec. 29, 2010, Faizi’s abandoned vehicle was found near a home to which McArthur had access. That isn’t strange. In fact it is common with serial killers. The items bring back memories of the joy the serial killers had in killing their victims.

On February 8th  2019.  Bruce McArthur was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole until 25 years has been served. If he survives, he will be 91 years old. The National Parole Board is unlikely going to release this serial killer after he has served 25 years in prison.

The courts have the option to hand down consecutive sentences of imprisonment  in cases where there are multiple convictions of murders that took lace after 2011. The Crown attorneys had asked for two consecutive sentences with no parole eligibility for 50 years. But Justice John McMahon argued that by pleading guilty, McArthur had spared the victims’ loved ones a “graphic public trial.”  McMahon also took McArthur’s age into consideration. He also said that since McArthur is suffering from diabetes, he may not live to 91 years of age.

The 67-year-old former landscaper was taken from the maximum security facility, (Millhaven) located west of Kingston, Ontario, to a local hospital on April 11th 2019.His injuries weren’t that serious. I presume that he is in a special unit where inmates are in protective custody.  

St the beginning of this article, I gave you examples of negligence on the part of  of police officers  when they arrest people for murder.

In February, 1018, Police Chief Mark Saunders said one of the reasons the police failed to catch McArthur earlier was because civilians were unco-operative. The evidence on the streets suggests otherwise. All of this is why there’s now an external investigation into how the police handle missing persons reports. It has ratcheted up an already fraught relationship between police and the LGBT community.  The bungled police investigations in the past with respect to  missing people in Toronto has further revealed how fraught this relationship between the LGBT community was and still is  both historically and the present day and why it needs the relationship to be rebuilt from scratch. 

The Police Chief ‘s weak defensive and evasive institutional response by him to the LGBT  community that was experiencing ongoing indifference from police officers. which reveals more of itself every few weeks, there’s little hope of trust returning to this relationship between the LGBT community and the Toronto Police.

The months-long police probe was the largest forensic investigation in Toronto’s history that resulted in the discovery of dismembered, skeletal human remains buried in large planters on a Leaside property.  It is most unfortunate that that discovery wasn’t considered much earlier in the investigation. More lives wouldn’t have been lost if they discovered skeletal remains much earlier in the investigation.

There was no reason during the investigations that McArthur would really bury the remains of his victims in his customer’s gardens.

As far as I am concerned, the police did a fine job in solving this horrible murder case.   

There was a terrible blunder on the part of police officers that took place in the American city of  Milwaukee in he state of  Wisconsin  The suspect was a man whose name was Jeffrey Dahmer, a serial killer.  He murdered at least 17 young men and boys between 1978 and 1991. Following his arrest, he told police that he had cut up the thighs, biceps, and internal organs of several of his victims and cooked them in a stovetop skillet before consuming them. He claimed they tasted like filet mignonOne of his victims ran away while naked and saw two police officers. He told them that a man was trying to kill him.  The killer ran after him and then told the police that the victim was impaired  with drugs and he was trying to help him to be sober. The officers accompanied both men to the killer’s apartment. They saw nothing amiss and left the victim with his killer. Had they searched the refrigerator, they would have seen wo heads of the killer’s previous victims in the fridge. After the police left the apartment, the victim was killed by his killer.  Now that is what I call a serious blunder on the part of the police.

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