Police have identified the remains of three more men suspected to have been murdered by alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur as they expand their investigation more than four decades into the past.
Det. Sgt. Hank Idsinga said the 66-year-old self-employed landscaper is now facing a total of seven first-degree murder charges related to the deaths of men with ties to Toronto’s LGBTQ community.
The most recent count was laid on Wednesday, when McArthur was formally charged in the death of 42-year-old Abdulbasir Faizi, whose family reported him missing on Dec. 29, 2010. McArthur had already been charged with the first-degree murder of six other men who are believed to have died between 2010 and 2017.
Idsinga said the sprawling investigation is now scrutinizing 15 unsolved homicides that took place between 1975 and 1997. While he said there is no current evidence linking McArthur to the cold cases, they fit the general profile of the alleged victims identified to date.
“We may discover cases from the ’70s. We may discover that 2010 was the first murder,” Idsinga told a news conference. “We just don’t know yet.”
Faizi’s remains were among at least seven recovered from planters at a Toronto home in Leaside where McArthur once did landscaping work.
McArthur was arrested in January and charged with the murders of Andrew Kinsman and Selim Esen, who went missing from Toronto’s gay village in 2017.
Later that month, McArthur was charged with the first-degree murder of Majeed Kayhan, Soroush Mahmudi, and Dean Lisowick — whom police believe was killed in April 2016. In February, he was also charged in the death of Skandaraj Navaratnam.
Idsinga said pathologists are working to identify the remains of at least one more person found on the property. The remains of all but Kayhan have been identified among those recovered from the planters at the Leaside home.
Idsinga said police plan to investigate 45 additional properties where McArthur is believed to have worked, bringing the total number of properties of interest to 75. He added that the operation may get underway as early as next month.
In addition, investigators remain at McArthur’s Thorncliffe apartment and police are still two to three weeks away from finishing their search there.
Idsinga said the forensic identification services unit is going through the apartment “inch by inch by inch,” including floors, ceilings, walls and furniture.
“We’ve quite frankly never seen anything like it,” Idsinga said. “I think it’s easily set the record for a forensic examination of an apartment.“
Police also released a forensic rendition of a man believed to be one of Mcarthur’s victims, and said they’re still trying to identify him. A photo of the man was originally released in March and police say they have received more than 500 tips. Those tips led to 70 possible identities for the man, most of which have been eliminated. Police are still working to narrow down his identity among 22 remaining possibilities.
Many of McArthur’s alleged victims were the subject of two previous police probes into the disappearances of men from the city’s gay village.
The first police probe — named Project Houston — was launched in 2012 to investigate the disappearances of Faizi, Kayhan and Navaratnam. It closed after 18 months as it did not establish the whereabouts of the missing men or resolve the circumstances on their disappearances, police said.
In August 2017, police launched Project Prism, which looked into the disappearances of Kinsman and Esen. McArthur popped up on the police radar in the fall of 2017 as part of Project Prism.