Wed, Jan 31, 2018 - Page 7 News List

Police search planters for serial killer suspect’s victims

AFP, OTTAWA

Police officers on Monday guard the grounds of a house they searched after a landscaper was accused of murdering five people and putting their dead bodies in large planters on his clients’ properties in Toronto.

Photo: Reuters

A landscaper charged in the deaths of two Toronto men is a suspected serial killer, police said on Monday, as they linked him to three additional victims and scoured sites around Canada’s largest city for more remains.

Bruce McArthur, 66, was arrested earlier this month and charged on Monday with three additional premeditated murders after human remains were found “hidden in the bottom of [large] planters” at a property that he used for storage, Toronto police lead investigator Sergeant Hank Idsinga said.

McArthur is an “alleged serial killer,” he told a news conference, adding that authorities were searching about 30 properties in Toronto where McArthur worked.

Police are examining a dozen more planters from various locations across the city, and eyeing two properties for excavation “where people might be buried,” Idsinga said.

“We believe there are more remains at some of the properties that we’re working to recover,” he said. “We believe there are more [victims], but I have no idea how many more there are going to be.”

DNA tests are being performed on the dismembered skeletal remains found so far “and depending on the identification of the remains and further evidence that we uncover, we’ll lay more charges,” Idsinga said.

McArthur was arrested following an investigation into the disappearances in April and June last year of two men — Selim Esen, 44, and Andrew Kinsman, 49 — from a predominantly gay neighborhood in downtown Toronto.

He was also indicted in the deaths of Majeed Kayhan, 58, who went missing in 2012; Sorousk Mahmudi, 50, whose disappearance was reported almost three years ago; and 47-year-old Dean Lisowick, who was homeless and was believed to have been murdered in 2016 or last year.

Two of the victims did not fit the profile of some of the others — men of Middle Eastern descent known to have frequented Toronto’s gay village neighborhood, suggesting the crimes might extend beyond that district.

The investigation “certainly encompasses more than the gay community. It encompasses the city of Toronto,” he said.

However, McArthur was known to have had a long-term sexual relationship with Kinsman, police said.

“We know that many in the community are struggling to understand and process these developments,” Idsinga said.

Although McArthur had come under suspicion in September last year in connection with the disappearance of Kinsman, police rejected suggestions last month that a serial killer was prowling Toronto’s gay neighborhood.

In 2013, police said they believed Kayhan’s disappearance could be connected to two other missing persons cases, those of Abdulbasir Faizi and Skandaraj Navaratnam.

McArthur was not charged in those disappearances, but the investigations remain open.

Authorities are now reviewing missing persons cases dating back to at least 2010 and asking anyone who employed McArthur to do garden work to come forward.

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