Toronto police have arrested a man who they believed killed two men who disappeared from the city’s Gay Village last year, fueling fearsfrom residents and LGBTQ advocates that a serial killer has been stalking the community.
Bruce McArthur, a 66-year-old landscaper living in Toronto’s Thorncliffe community, was arrested and charged with two counts of first degree murder, police announced in a press conference on Thursday afternoon.
Selim Esem and Andrew Kinsman both disappeared from the area in April and June, respectively. Their cases were being investigated by a task force called Project Prism.
“Yesterday, significant progress was made in the investigation,” said Det.-Sgt. Hank Idsinga. “We believe [McArthur] is responsible for the deaths of Mr. Kinsmen and Mr. Esem… We also believe there are other victims.”
IDENTIFYING OTHER VICTIMS
Police have secured five properties — four in Toronto and one in Madoc — they believe are associated with McArthur, although they wouldn’t describe the significance of the properties.
They will not release a photo of McArthur.
“At this stage, we’re concerned with identifying other victims of Mr. McArthur,” said Idsinga.
Esem and Kinsman’s bodies have not yet been found, said police, who are searching for them.
Police had been investigating McArthur for months, they said. Yesterday, they discovered evidence that “pushed [them] over the edge.”
Idsinga confirmed that Kinsman and McArthur had a sexual relationship “for some time,” but said they did not know the nature of his relationship with Esem.
They also said McArthur was found on dating apps, although they would not disclose which ones.
“We have some evidence that leads us to believe there are further victims,” said Idsinga. “We are aware of the other missing men from the village, and we’re trying to identify whether they’ve become victims of Mr. McArthur as well.”
Last month, police had dismissed rumors of a serial killer in the area, despite growing concerns about safety in the community.
“There has been a great deal of misinformation disseminated through the media and other mediums,” said Det Sgt. Michael Richmond had told reporters.
Police also rebuffed suggestions that Kinsman and Esen’s cases were linked, or that they were connected to another three disappearances from The Village between 2010 and 2012.
In November, months after her body was found, police identified the body of Alloura Wells, a trans woman who went missing in July. On Thursday, they did not provide an update on the investigation into her death.
Last month, also in the Church Wellesley area, 22-year-old Tess Richey’s body was found a few doors down from where she went missing, just days prior. Richey’s death was initially ruled an accident, but a post-mortem determined the cause of her death was neck compression. Her death is also being investigated as a homicide.