Bruce McArthur is shown in a Facebook photo. Toronto police say McArthur, a man they are calling an alleged serial killer, is now facing five first-degree murder charges related to men who have gone missing from the city’s gay village. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Facebook

Alleged Toronto serial killer buried dismembered victims’ remains in planter boxes: Cops

Toronto police say Bruce McArthur, a man they are calling an alleged serial killer, is now facing five first-degree murder charges

A self-employed landscaper now facing five counts of first-degree 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, who was 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.

Related: Suspected serial killer targeting Toronto gay community facing more murder charges

“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 McArthur 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 had no comment 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.

“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.

“He has been doing superficial landscaping, he cuts the grass, and rakes the leaves in the fall,” Liddle said. “He would frequently off-load flats of plants and pots of plants and flowers and take them out of his minivan and put them in the back of the house and bring the same things out from the back of the house and load them into his vehicle.”

While Liddle said McArthur sometimes had a younger man helping him with the gardening work, police said they had no evidence anyone else was involved in any of the alleged crimes.

They also said they had received numerous tips, including from around the world, and appealed for anyone who might have information to contact them.

“We may find more people never reported missing,” Idsinga said.

Esen was reported missing in April last year. He was known to frequent the city’s Church and Wellesley street area. Kinsman was reported missing in June.

Police had investigated Kayhan’s disappearance in 2012 as part of project that turned up the names of three missing men but concluded without any evidence they had met foul play. Mahmudi was reported missing in 2015. A new investigation launched last August led to McArthur’s arrest.

Colin Perkel and Peter Goffin, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Ballenas students launch fundraiser for U.S. travel to promote science experiment

Students’ experiment headed for International Space Station

Search is on for parties to build $10.7M Bowser sewage project

Further investigation of land disposal option rejected by RDN board

Parksville council won’t ban single-use plastic bags

Politicians vote 6-1 against proposed bylaw

RDN dealing with high interest in backyard cannabis production

New policy proposed to address challenges with Health Canada licences

Qualicum Beach doles out Community Awards

Jacobson is Citizen of the Year; new mayor Wiese named top newsmaker

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

Girl heard saying ‘Help my Dad’ in suspicious radio message on Vancouver Island

Police asking for help following mysterious signals from somewhere between Comox and Sayward

Vehicle smashes through front of furniture store in Nanaimo

No injuries reported in Friday incident

Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

One dead, two seriously injured in Hwy 4 crash west of Port Alberni

A man has died following a single-vehicle collision west of Port Alberni… Continue reading

Two more measles cases confirmed in Vancouver

It brings the number of total cases within the city connected to the outbreak to ten

B.C. Special Olympics officially underway in Vernon

Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Vancouver Aquarium wants your help to name a baby killer whale

The public helped name Springer’s first calf, Spirit, and is being asked to help with the second

Most Read