Toronto landscaper charged in slayings
Police fear bodies are in planters at 30 other properties.
The house on Mallory Crescent was a gray two-story shotgun with brown trim, its garage just a few steps up from the sidewalk.
In the summer months vegetation spilled out from the flower beds running along the driveway, but by the time investigators from the Toronto Police Service marched onto the lot Jan. 18, the raw Canadian winter had scraped away the landscaping and police turned their attention to large flower planters stored at the back of the property.
They searched there because a self-employed land- scaper named Bruce McArthur had worked on the prop- erty. That same day, he had been charged with killing two people. Police had reason to believe there might be more.
And they believed they knew where they might find more bodies. McArthur was a self-employed landscaper who stored items at the house where they were searching in return for yard work.
Indeed, inside the plant- ers were hidden the dismem- beredremains of at least three people.
On Monday, McArthur, bulky-framed pink-cheeked 66-year-old who regularly donned a Santa Claus cos- tume at a local mall during the holidays, was charged with three additional murders.
Police believe there are more bodies still. Right now, investigators are undertaking the macabre task of visiting the 30 other properties where McArthur performed lawn work, collecting more than a dozen planters that police believe contain additional remains.
“It’s a serial killer — alleged serial killer,” Sgt. Hank Idsinga explained at a news con- ference Monday in Toronto.
The gruesome news in Can- ada’s largest city is unfold- ing this week against a backdrop of social outrage. Both McArthur and a number of his alleged victims had ties to Toronto’s Gay Village neigh- borhood.
For years, members of the city’s LGBT community had reported disappearances from the area, sparking whis- pers about a possible serial killer targeting the community. e are validated in our concerns, but there’s no joy to be had in that,” Nicki Ward, a community activist, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. this week. “Why weren’t we listened to earlier?”
According to the time- line provided by Idsinga at the briefing, beginning in November 2012, Toronto police launched “Project Houston,” an investigation into the disappearance of three men from Gay Village, all of Middle Eastern descent. The investigation continued fruitlessly until April 2014.
“At the conclusion of the project, no evidence is found which would classify anyone as a suspect in any criminal offense related to the disappearances,” Idsinga said.
But in August 2017, police started a new investigation — Project Prism — looking for traces of two other missing members of the gay community: Selim Esen, 44, and Andrew Kinsman, 49.
They learned that Kinsman had had a sexual relationship with McArthur, police say. Investigators began following McArthur.
On Jan. 18, McArthur was arrested and charged with Esen and Kinsman’s murders.
After further investigation and the discovery of remains in the planters, authorities charged McArthur with three additional murders: Majeed Kayhan, 58; Soroush Mahmudi, 50; and Dean Lisowick, 47. Police have not publicly connected the victims to the planters. They said DNA testing was ongoing.
McArthur is scheduled to make a plea appearance in court Feb. 14.
Toronto police forensic officers stand near a house Friday in Madoc, Ontario. Police are combing through properties connected with landscaper Bruce McArthur, who is charged with several killings.