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Toronto police fear more victims in McArthur case

Landscaper Bruce McArthur, 66, has been charged with five murders in Toronto

Toronto police have warned the number of victims of an alleged serial killer may rise dramatically, as they revealed they are searching for human remains at homes across the city.

Landscaper Bruce McArthur, 66, has been charged with a total of five murders, after police announced on Monday that they had discovered dismembered remains in large flower pots.

The horror case has sparked comparisons to American serial killers John Wayne Gacy, who killed at least 33 men and boys, and Jeffrey Dahmer, who killed 17.

On Tuesday, fresh details emerged about what led to McArthur’s arrest on January 18 after cops made a dramatic discovery in his apartment.

McArthur had been under police suspicion since September as part of a probe into the disappearances of several men from Toronto’s Gay Village area, but investigators didn’t have enough evidence to charge him.

On the evening of January 18, police surveillance teams saw a male ‘date’ going into McArthur’s 19th-floor apartment in the Thorncliffe Park neighborhood, police sources told the Global News. Fearing for the man’s safety, cops kicked in the door and rushed inside, where they found the man bound to McArthur’s bedposts, shaken but unharmed.

Cops found pictures of McArthur’s alleged victims on his computer, police sources said, offering the first clue of how investigators tied him to the murders.

Selim Esen, 44. Esen was last heard from in March 2017 and lived in Toronto's Church-Wellesley village area. A Turkish native, the government in Ankara has been informed.

Andrew Kinsman, 49. McArthur and Kinsman were believed to be involved together and he went missing from the Cabbagetown district of Toronto in June of 2017

McArthur was initially charged with the murders of Selim Esen, 44, (left) and Andrew Kinsman, 49 (right). Police suspect he had a sexual relationship with both men. Esen disappeared in March 2017 from the Church-Wellesley village district of Toronto and Kinsman vanished from Cabbagetown in June of 2017

Arrested: Cops saw a male 'date' enter McArthur's apartment on the 19th floor of this apartment building on January 18. The burst in the door and found the man bound to his bed

Arrested: Cops saw a male ‘date’ enter McArthur’s apartment on the 19th floor of this apartment building on January 18. The burst in the door and found the man bound to his bed

McArthur was initially charged with two murders, those of Selim Esen, 44, and Andrew Kinsman, 49, both reported missing from Toronto’s Gay Village area at separate times last year.

Their bodies have not yet been found. Police believe both men had sexual relations with McArthur, and the suspect and victims used dating apps in common.   

On Monday, McArthur was charged with three additional counts of first-degree murder.

The fresh charges related to the deaths of Majeed Kayhan, 58, Soroush Marmudi, 50, and Dean Lisowick, 47.

Kayhan was reported missing since October 2012, while Marmudi was reported missing in August 2015 and Lisowick was never reported missing.

The new charges came after forensic investigators said they found the dismembered skeletal remains of at least three men in large planters sitting in the back yard of a home in the quiet Toronto neighborhood of Leaside. 

Police discovered the dismembered remains of at least three men in planters behind this home, where McArthur stored his landscaping equipment. The homeowners were shocked

Police discovered the dismembered remains of at least three men in planters behind this home, where McArthur stored his landscaping equipment. The homeowners were shocked

Members of the public are urged to contact police if McArthur (pictured) has done landscaping work on their property. It is feared there are more undiscovered bodies in the case

Members of the public are urged to contact police if McArthur (pictured) has done landscaping work on their property. It is feared there are more undiscovered bodies in the case

There, McArthur stored his landscaping equipment in exchange for mowing the lawn of the couple who owned the home, who were stunned by the allegations.

The formal identification of the remains is pending DNA testing. 

‘The city of Toronto has never seen anything like this,’ Toronto Homicide Detective Sergeant Hank Idsinga said at a press conference on Monday. 

‘It is unprecedented and draining. He’s an alleged serial killer and he’s taken some steps to cover his tracks.’ 

Police have identified at least 30 properties where McArthur worked, and said they believe there are more remains yet to be discovered.

‘We have seized quite a few planters from around the city and we will continue to do that,’ said Idsinga. There are at least two sites that we do want to excavate where people might be buried.’ 

‘It encompasses more than the gay community. It encompasses the City of Toronto,’ Idsinga said. 

Forensic investigators erected this tent in the back yard of the home in Leaside this week

Forensic investigators erected this tent in the back yard of the home in Leaside this week

Police officers guard the grounds of a house they had searched, after a landscaper was accused of murdering five people and putting their dead bodies in large planters 

Police officers guard the grounds of a house they had searched, after a landscaper was accused of murdering five people and putting their dead bodies in large planters 

Police continued on Monday to collect evidence at the home where the remains were found

Police continued on Monday to collect evidence at the home where the remains were found

One of the newly identified victims, Kayhan, was the subject of a previous probe into the disappearances of three middle-aged Muslim immigrants from the Gay Village area between 2010 and 2012. The fate of the other two men has yet to be determined.

A second new victim, Marmudi, was reported missing in Scarborough by his family in August 2015.

The third new victim, Lisowick, was an occupant of the shelter system who had not been reported missing. Police believe he was murdered between May 2016 and July 2017. Lisowick and Marmudi were not known to openly identify with the gay community, police said.

Members of Toronto’s gay community were pushing for answers last year in light of the disappearances of Esen and Kinsman.

Esen frequented the Gay Village area and Kensington Market and often had a small plastic suitcase on wheels similar to a carry-on bag, police said.

He was last definitively seen on March 20, 2017, but there have been reports that he was also observed by a member of the community as late as April 14.

Kinsman was reported missing by a neighbor on June 28, 2017. Kinsman, known to be active on social media, was last seen in the area of his residence on Winchester Street on June 26.  

Both Esen and Kinsman were reported missing from the Gay Village area near Church and Wellesley streets (pictured) area at separate times last year

Both Esen and Kinsman were reported missing from the Gay Village area near Church and Wellesley streets (pictured) area at separate times last year

Police are seen searching a home connected to McArthur on January 19, shortly after his arrest

Police are seen searching a home connected to McArthur on January 19, shortly after his arrest

Following outcry from the gay community, police formed a task force named Project Prism to look into the disappearances.

In September of 2017 Project Prism investigators identified McArthur as a person of interest in the probe. 

McArthur had sexual relationships with both Esen and Kinsman, and all three were on dating apps, police have said. 

Officers investigated McArthur for months but could not make a definitive link to the disappearances until this month, police said. The bodies of Esen and Kinsman have not been recovered, and police have not said what evidence links McArthur to their presumed deaths. 

The investigation is still active and police hope to speak with any homeowners on whose properties McArthur may have worked.

Anyone who owns property that McArthur worked on as a landscaper is urged to contact investigators at 416-808-2021. 

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