Bruce McArthur, a Toronto-based landscaper and part-time mall Santa, has been accused of first degree murder for killing five men. Several, but not all, of McArthur’s purported victims were connected to Toronto’s LGBTQ community, particularly to the Gay Village neighborhood.
As a handful of people have gone missing over the last few years, the community has brought their concerns about those disappearances to law enforcement. “We 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. News on Jan. 20. “Why weren’t we listened to earlier? Perhaps some lives could have been saved if that was the case.”
On Tuesday, the Washington Post reported that the police are investigating multiple properties where McArthur worked as a landscaper. On Jan. 18, at the first property they searched, police found mutilated remains of at least three people hidden inside flower planters.
“We do believe there are more. I have no idea how many more there are going to be,” Sgt. Hank Idsinga said during a news conference on Monday. “The city of Toronto has never seen anything like this, so it’s very tiring and draining for everyone involved.”
McArthur has had problems with the law in the past. In 2003, he was convicted of assaulting a man with a metal pipe. According to the Toronto Star, as punishment, he wasn’t permitted into the village area, and couldn’t spend time with “male prostitutes.”
On Monday, McArthur was charged for the murders of Majeed Kayhan 58, who went missing in 2012; Soroush Mahmudi, 50, who went missing in 2015; and Dean Lisowick, 47, who was never recorded as missing, but is thought to have been murdered between 2016 and 2017. McArthur was arrested and charged on Jan. 18 for the murders of Selim Esen, 44, and Andrew Kinsman, 49. As reported by the Post, police have noted that McArthur and Kinsman were engaged in a “sexual relationship.”
McArthur is currently in custody, and will appear in court on Feb. 14.