Serial killer feared as arrest made in Gay Village missing men case

Salmaan Farooqui

Downer hangs a poster for Andrew Kinsman who disappeared in June. The Globe and Mail Salmaan Farooqui

Bruce McArthur, a 66-year-old Toronto man, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder Thursday morning in the presumed deaths of Selim Esen and Andrew Kinsman, both reported missing from the Church and Wellesley streets area at separate times last year, police said.

"We believe he (Mr. McArthur) is responsible for the deaths of Mr. Esen and Mr. Kinsman, and we believe he is responsible for the deaths of other men who have yet to be identified", said Det-Sgt. Sgt. Hank Idsinga of the homicide squad told reporters.

The arrest came as a result of Project Prism - an investigation into the disappearance of Esen, 44, last April from near Bloor and Yonge Sts., and Andrew Kinsman, 49, from Parliament and Winchester June.

Idsinga said investigators had been looking into McArthur's involvement for several months, but evidence - which he did not specify - recovered Wednesday prompted McArthur's arrest Thursday.

The suspect, who is said to be the owner of landscape company "Artistic Design" reportedly had sexual relationship with Kinsman, but the relationship between the accused and Esen is not yet clear, Idsinga said.

Investigators previously said both men frequented the Church- Wellesley Village neighbourhood.

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Police have called both missing persons cases as suspicious.

Officers are now investigating at least five properties that they say are associated with McArthur - four in Toronto and one in Madoc, Ont. We aren't able at this time to identify those victims based on the evidence we have.

A new conference has been scheduled for 1:15 p.m., at Toronto police headquarters on College St. Asked whether a serial killer could be behind the deaths, Mendelson said police wouldn't have "haphazardly" suggested that there are other victims.

The disappearance of Kinsman generated a great deal of community interest, with local residents organizing and participating in searches. "Clearly there is some information that is leading them to believe that there are more victims out there, or they wouldn't have said that".

Idsinga alleged police have a "pretty good idea of what the cause of death is" in the case, though he declined to elaborate. Notices for the missing men were posted throughout the village for months, any many were angered that police were not investigating the possibility that the cases were linked earlier.

Last December, police said Esen and Kinsman had been active on online dating apps prior to their disappearances.

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