Alleged serial killer buried dismembered victims’ remains in planter boxes
A self-employed landscaper now facing five counts of firstdegree murder dismembered some of his male victims and buried their remains at the bottom of large planter boxes, Toronto police alleged Monday, calling him a serial killer. Investigators warned that more victims may yet be identified in what they called an unprecedented case in Canada’s largest city.
Speaking at a news conference, Det. Sgt. Hank Idsinga said officers had found dismembered skeletal remains belonging to at least three people in planter boxes at a home linked to Bruce McArthur, already charged earlier this month with killing two men who had disappeared from the city’s gay village.
“We do believe there are more (victims). I have no idea how many more there are going to be,’’ Idsinga said. “We’re investigating some 30 properties. We believe there are more remains at some of these properties that we’re working to recover.’’
Forensic experts have yet to identify the remains, Idsinga said.
McArthur, 66, was arrested and charged Jan. 18 in the presumed deaths of Selim Esen, 44, and 49-year-old Andrew Kinsman. He was further charged on Monday in the deaths of two missing men — Majeed Kayhan, 58, and Soroush Mahmudi, 50 — as well as Dean Lisowick, 47, who had never been reported missing.
Mahmudi and Lisowick did not fit the profile of some of the other missing men — Middle Eastern men known to frequent Toronto’s gay village area. “We know that many in the community are struggling to understand and process these developments,’’ Idsinga said. “(But the investigation) certainly encompasses more than the gay community. It encompasses the city of Toronto.’’ Police had said McArthur had a long-term sexual relationship with Kinsman, but Idsinga refused to discuss what if any relationship he might have had with the other victims.
Police had initially shut down persistent rumours that a serial killer was prowling the gay village, stressing that as recently as December, they did not know whether Esen’s and Kinsman’s disappearances were linked or if the men were still alive.
“Obviously, the city of Toronto has never seen anything like this. I’d call it an unprecedented type of investigation,’’ Idsinga said. “It’s an alleged serial killer. He’s taken some steps to cover his tracks and we have to uncover these victims and identify these victims.’’
Investigators were scouring properties in the city where McArthur worked as a landscaper. They said they were planning to excavate at two locations “where people might be buried,’’ but said they did not know what, if anything, they might find.
“You’ve got everything scattered at your feet that you have to uncover and deal with,’’ Idsinga said.
Police have interviewed McArthur, whom they said became a person of interest last September, but refused to comment on what he might have told them. McArthur’s lawyer did not immediately return a call on Monday after the accused appeared briefly in court before being remanded in custody.
A woman who lives in a lowrise apartment building beside the house where the remains were recovered said McArthur was house-sitting for the owner and was often seen gardening or laying out plants in the driveway. The woman, who asked not to be named, said she would often see McCarthur gardening or laying out plants in the driveway.
“It’s horrible to think of this happening in any neighbourhood,’’ she said.
A large army-style tent was set up in the backyard of the house, with a power generator running.
Parker Liddle, who lives nearby, said he had seen McArthur come and go for years — sometimes two or three visits per day.
A police officer is shown outside a house on Mallory Crescent in Toronto, where Bruce McArthur did landscape work, on Monday, January 29 , 2018. McArthur, 66, was charged Jan. 18 in the presumed deaths of Selim Esen and Andrew Kinsman. He was further charged on Monday in the deaths Majeed Kayhan, 58, Soroush Mahmudi, 50, and Dean Lisowick, 47.