Investigation forces Leasiders out of home

Cou­ple’s gar­dener ar­rested for Church-Welles­ley mur­ders

Bayview Post - - News -

Lea­side res­i­dents Karen Fraser and her part­ner Ron Smith were given 20 min­utes to va­cate their home on Mal­lory Cres­cent when po­lice knocked on their door the morn­ing of Jan. 18.

An investigation into a 66-year-old Thorn­cliffe Park man, who was ar­rested and charged with two counts of first-de­gree mur­der that same day, led to the home where he once worked as a gar­dener.

As of Jan. 24, the two were still un­able to re­turn home and were stay­ing with friends.“The search war­rant is open-ended, for ob­vi­ous rea­sons, so … [the po­lice] can stay as long as they like,” said Fraser.

A se­ries of miss­ing-per­son cases in the Church Street and Welles­ley Street area led po­lice to sus­pect the man work­ing for the cou­ple.

At a press con­fer­ence about the investigation, dubbed Project Prism, in Jan­uary, Det. Sgt. Hank Idsinga said the ac­cused is be­lieved to be re­spon­si­ble for the deaths of Se­lim Esen, 44, and An­drew Kins­man, 49, who went miss­ing in 2017.

“We be­lieve he is re­spon­si­ble for the deaths of Mr. Kins­man and Mr. Esen, and we be­lieve he is re­spon­si­ble for the deaths of other men who have yet to be iden­ti­fied.”

The ac­cused is a self-em­ployed gar­dener, un­der the com­pany name Artis­tic De­sign, and although Idsinga said the bod­ies of the vic­tims have not yet been found, po­lice have a “good idea what the cause of death is.”

“As of right now, in­ter­views are tak­ing place and po­lice have se­cured five prop­er­ties, four in Toronto and one in Madoc, Ont., con­nected to [the ac­cused] in an ef­fort to fur­ther in­ves­ti­gate these oc­cur­rences,” he said.

Fraser said that var­i­ous me­dia out­lets had falsely re­ported the ac­cused owned their prop­erty, which she re­futed. She also said the com­mu­nity has stepped up to take care of them while they’re tem­po­rar­ily dis­placed.

The Toronto Po­lice Ser­vice has asked any­one with in­for­ma­tion to con­tact the Project team at 416-8082021. Idsinga said the team is most con­cerned with iden­ti­fy­ing other vic­tims.

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