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Audiences south of the border are learning about McArthurs murders for the first time, says Day, and theres a huge appetite for these stories in what he calls a golden age for true-crime programming. [186] One photograph showed a rope around a victim's neck twisted with a metal bar wrapped in tape, a mechanism to control the pressure during strangulation. Weve got to make sure that never happens again., Anyone can read Conversations, but to contribute, you should be a registered Torstar account holder. [51] According to a 2016 case summary, there was still nothing to explain what had happened to these men. McArthur seems to have encountered money problems in the late '90s, first mortgaging the Oshawa house in 1997 and then declaring bankruptcy in 1999. McArthur would spend the better part of the next three decades not being able to decide on what he wanted. At the hearing, I sat with the victims' families. [63], Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam, 37,[160] last had contact with his family in August 2015. [41] According to a 2018 W5 investigation, a man posted on cannibal website Zambian Meat in 2012 that he had killed and eaten a man in Toronto, which had led to the formation of Project Houston. David Dickinson was asked Friday about Bruce McArthur's motive for murdering eight men. Star Newspapers Limited and/or its licensors. The only surviving documents were the transcripts of the guilty plea and sentencing hearing, the psychiatric report and pre-sentencing report ordered during the trial, and pictures of the victim's injuries and the weapon. [235], The Missing Persons Act would make it easier for police to obtain judicial orders for access to phone records or financial information in a missing persons case. After viewing surveillance footage, they spotted a suspicious-looking van in the parking lot, which was later traced back to McArthur. [271], In 2022, British journalist Mobeen Azhar presented a six-part true-crime series on McArthur titled Santa Claus the Serial Killer, broadcast on BBC Three. [174] On November 5, he first appeared at the Superior Court of Justice before Justice John McMahon,[175] who noted a 2016 Supreme Court of Canada ruling, by which the trial should conclude before August 2020. [97][86][113][114], On March 5, Toronto police held a press conference and released a photo of an unidentified deceased man alleged to be another of McArthur's victims. "[222], The circumstances of a disappearance are considered by TPS before committing resources to a search, especially for an adult. [124] Police said they would look into why his name was not on a list of missing persons. When his deportation order was given, he went into hiding in the Tamil community in Ontario and worked as a cleaner and mover. A welcome email is on its way. Andrew Kinsman, a friend to McArthur for 15 years, wrote down that name, "Bruce"; an appointment to keep, either "2 p.m. or 3 p.m." He became McArthur's eighth and last far as is . [84], At the time of McArthur's arrest, Idsinga said that police believed he was responsible for the deaths of other men and were most concerned with identifying these victims. The answers were there, of course, but only in their most superficial form. Read Story Transcript. The TPSB named Breese Davies, vice-president of the Criminal Lawyers' Association, in a facilitator role. Younger men, who appear to be of Middle Eastern or South Asian descent, show up in several of his vacation and nightlife pictures. [17] During the sentence, he was barred from Church and Wellesley except for work and medical appointments, had to stay at least 10 metres (33ft) from the victim's home or workplace, and could not spend time with "male prostitutes". [180] On January 29, before Justice John McMahon, McArthur pleaded guilty to each of the eight first-degree murder charges that he was facing, ending the possibility of any trial. [164] In mid-March the same year, Cantlon said one package of disclosure had been made to McArthur's lawyers, with more to be expected in the following weeks, some in excess of 10,000 pages owing to the case's complexity. A username and email address, "silverfoxx51," was found in Navaratnam and Faizi's computer data. [39] Saunders told the community on December 8, "The evidence today tells us there's not a serial killer". Are the unknown victims of alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur hidden among these 22 cold cases? The documentary points to a tipping point after McArthur, who previously lived as a straight man with a wife and children, was outed to his family by a male lover. This led to 5,000 tips being reported, one of which resulted in an arrest. Project Houston concluded with no evidence to link the disappearances, that a crime had been committed[50] or to identify a suspect. Wells' friends say that this resulted in her body being unidentified for months. [78] Saunders, who had been a homicide detective for nine years, was an investigator first and spoke in terms of evidence that could be presented in court. But criminologists and sociologists have been studying the motivations for violence for millennia and we still dont really have a foolproof answer.. [228] But by the end of February they said that the police relationship with the community had to be rebuilt[204] and in early March that they were "no longer surprised" by "incompetence" in the investigation. He said that most of the men appeared to be "East Indian" and that Todd said that they were men whom his father knew. [89] Of greater concern to investigators were McArthur's high-rise apartment in Thorncliffe Park and the Mallory Crescent residence in Leaside. [164] Torstar reported on March 19, 2018, that McArthur was being held "in segregation and under constant suicide watch". Years on the road as a salesman would have given him ample opportunity to kill. [7], A young McArthur attended a one-room schoolhouse outside Woodville. Daniel Lerner, a Toronto defence lawyer and former Crown prosecutor, suggested that the Crown should consider severing the charges. This area contains a virtually infinite number of places to hide bodies. Excavation of two sewage lines at the home was conducted on February 13,[105] and a section of one line was removed for testing. Also in 2021, Oxygen and Super Channel aired Catching a Serial Killer: Bruce McArthur a documentary film about the case by James Buddy Day. [84], On April 11, McArthur was charged with a seventh count of first-degree murder in the death of Abdulbasir Faizi. The planters had frozen to the ground, requiring heaters to thaw them. Ive had pretty good success at talking with serial killers over the years, says Day. Although McArthur went to prison for the eight murders in the 2010s, authorities believe his spree could have started two decades earlier, as he crisscrossed the largely empty northern part of the province. [153] Following the death of his partner, Kayhan romantically pursued McArthur whom he knew from The Black Eagle. McArthur was forbidden to possess firearms for ten years. [116][117] They also announced that a seventh set of remains had been recovered from the Leaside planters. [40][62] CBC News examined hundreds of pages of partially redacted court orders unsealed in September 2018, and concluded that there had been "considerable effort" toward investigating all three Project Houston subjects. [266][267] In the same year Ling published the book Missing from the Village: The Story of Serial Killer Bruce McArthur, the Search for Justice, and the System That Failed Toronto's Queer Community,[268] which won the Brass Knuckles Award for Best Nonfiction Book at the Crime Writers of Canada Awards of Excellence in 2021. He was let go, as police believed his story was credible. [161][162][163], In January 2018, a publication ban was ordered on court proceedings, limiting what could be reported in the media. [55] Kinsman was active on social media[39] but investigators found his cell phone was turned off the day he disappeared. Kevin Nash says McArthur "came into the picture" of Navaratnam's life in 1999 and that the pair began a romantic relationship that lasted until at least 2008. He wrote that the reports were completed and available[219] from the night of the incident,[220] that he had spoken to Project Prism officers regarding it after they had identified McArthur's van, and that there were no complaints then. He preferred to strangle his victims with a rope tightened using a metal bar. [55] It was also noted to be unlike Kinsman to go anywhere without notifying friends or family. [49] McArthur told police that he knew both men and regularly interacted with Navaratnam at a gay bar, but denied being in a relationship with him. [18] On April 11, 2018, police charged McArthur with the murder of Faizi, which occurred on or about December 29, 2010. [39], Sasha Reid, a University of Toronto PhD candidate specializing in statistical analysis of missing persons and sexually motivated killers, was compiling a missing-persons database when she came across the Project Houston disappearances. McArthur spent years preying upon mostly gay men of colour and, in the end, in 2019, he pleaded guilty to murdering eight men. Jocelyn Lemoineof Gatineau, who met McArthurin Toronto several times in the mid-2000s, was flabbergasted to hear the news, telling CBCthat the man he knew was "jovial" and never lost his temper. But it can also be an important part of the grieving process and helps to "build a sense of safety back into the world." [221], The TPS receives over 4,000 missing-persons reports each year,[208] with most resolved within a few days. McArthur, whose full name is Thomas Donald Bruce McArthur, attended Fenelon Falls Secondary School in the Kawartha Lakes area. Cops dont always get every confession.. TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian serial killer Bruce McArthur was sentenced to life in prison on Friday in a trial that gripped the country and shocked the gay community of Toronto. McArthur pleaded guilty to eight counts of first-degree murder last week. [215] Gauthier's attorney said that the decision to not charge McArthur in 2016 was made in consultation with Gauthier's supervisor,[216] and that the investigation and arrest of McArthur was fully documented. Previously police could only obtain such records if a crime was suspected. He made a comparison to the Seminole Heights serial killer in Tampa Bay, Florida, where police warned the public of a serial killer in November 2017. Gleason also remembers seeing McArthur's landscaping van driving in the area. So Im hoping that, in short, theyll come away from the documentary with a more robust picture of how complex this is.. To understand McArthur, Lee said you have to go back to the beginning. [145] His last night out included a stop at The Black Eagle bar[18] and the Steamworks bathhouse. Perhaps some lives could have been saved if that was the case. He was actually exiled from the Gay Village in 2003, after he used a metal pipe to assault a man there in 2001. Henderson shared photos of ijs injuries, which . The series explores themes of race, faith, culture and sexuality.[272][273][274]. [79] Criminologist and Western University professor Michael Arntfield said that the alleged method of disposal suggested a sophisticated killer who had developed his craft and, as most serial killers begin in their 20s, the crimes could go back several decades[93][94] and represent the longest run of a serial killer on record. It also includes an interview with a McArthur victim who survived, a man identified as John Doe, who tells a chilling story of being abducted and nearly strangled. But he wasnt a complete anomaly. They have been tasked with digitizing and reviewing thousands of missing persons files dating to 1953, and to act as a central hub to review each active missing persons case. McArthur had an arrangement to tend to the owners' yard in exchange for storage space in their garage for his landscaping equipment. [80][92][51], Former homicide detective Mark Mendelson said the investigation would become "the largest Toronto has undertaken". What we know about the 8 men killed by Bruce McArthur. ", "Bruce McArthur charged with seventh murder; police to search dozens of properties and examine 15 cold cases", "Police found remains essentially 'every day that we were digging' in ravine behind home linked to Bruce McArthur", "Bruce McArthur investigators not ruling out 1970s Gay Village cold cases", "Alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur could head to trial as early as September", "No new charges as alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur appears in Toronto court", "Cadaver dogs searching properties linked to alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur", "With warmer weather, Bruce McArthur investigation enters next phase", "Toronto police to expand search of properties linked to Bruce McArthur", "Canine unit wraps up search of Bruce McArthur- linked property where 7 bodies were buried", "Human remains found 'almost every day' behind property linked to Bruce McArthur", "Toronto police identify remains of Majeed Kayhan in alleged serial killer case", "Police don't believe Bruce McArthur linked to any other murders as remains of Majeed Kayhan identified", "Waterloo police probe possible links between disappearance of Kitchener man and alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur", "Woman believes her missing brother could be one of Bruce McArthur's alleged victims", "Focus turns to missing in Bruce McArthur case", "The eight lives taken from Toronto's Gay Village", "Project Houston focused on three missing men in Gay Village between 2010 and 2012", "Man missing since 2010 was romantically involved with accused killer Bruce McArthur, says friend", "Police questioned man who dated Andrew Kinsman, victim of alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur", "Anguished family of man missing since 2010 watch news of murders from afar", "Toronto police charge landscaper as serial killer, find human remains in flower pots", "The mysterious, unsolved case of three men who went missing from Toronto's gay village", "Man who disappeared from Toronto's Gay Village 'led double life,' wife learned", "Missing men from Toronto's Gay Village led 'double lives,' friends say", "Timeline in the case of alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur", "Alleged serial killer victim Dean Lisowick remembered as protective, 'sweet guy' and fixture of Gay Village", "Friend remembers Selim Esen as a kind, loving man", "Scott Mission was 'like home' for alleged serial killer victim Dean Lisowick", "A glance at Bruce McArthur's alleged victims", "Police 'always had that feeling' a killer lurked in the Gay Village, McArthur investigator says", "After investigative delays, funerals finally under way for alleged Bruce McArthur victims", "Remains of some of Bruce McArthur's alleged victims released to families: police", "Dean Lisowick laid to rest 10 months after he was named as alleged victim of accused serial killer Bruce McArthur", "Alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur makes court appearance via video", "Bruce McArthur's judicial pre-trial to start Nov. 30", "Accused killer Bruce McArthur filed for bankruptcy years before murder charges", "Bruce McArthur's case put over until next month after brief court appearance via video", "Alleged Toronto serial killer Bruce McArthur's case put over to May 23", "Alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur makes brief court appearance", "Families of victims in Bruce McArthur case struggle with mixture of grief, confusion and frustration", "Judicial pre-trial set for June 20 in Bruce McArthur case", "Crown, defence may consider splitting McArthur case into separate trials", "Alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur to appear in court in person on Oct. 22", "Alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur to go directly to trial", "Alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur to go to trial as early as September, 2019, judge says", "Bruce McArthur trial could start in September 2019, judge says", "Trial of alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur set for January 2020", "Trial of alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur to begin January 2020", "Bruce McArthur will return to court Jan. 16", "Bruce McArthur admits he's serial killer, pleads guilty to 8 murders", "Toronto under extreme cold warning as cleanup from major winter storm continues", "Bruce McArthur pleads guilty to 8 counts of 1st-degree murder", "Bruce McArthur pleads guilty to 8 counts of first-degree murder", "Bruce McArthur pleads guilty to 8 counts of murder", "Bruce McArthur: Canadian landscaper admits eight murders", "Court Hears About Serial Killer Bruce McArthur's Disturbing 'Post Offense Rituals', "Serial killer Bruce McArthur to learn today whether he'll ever be eligible for parole", "Grisly portrait of McArthur's crimes emerges at sentencing hearing", "Bruce McArthur unlikely to ever be released from prison", "We'll never know why Bruce McArthur murdered eight men", "Crown, defence debate when Bruce McArthur should get chance at parole", "Serial killer Bruce McArthur given concurrent life sentences, can apply for parole after 25 years", "MANDEL: Coward Bruce McArthur confirms he should leave prison in pine box", "Researcher says she tried to warn Toronto police about a serial killer", "Ph.D candidate profiled potential serial killer in gay village in July 2017", "Bruce McArthur case: How a hobby database of missing persons uncovered a serial killer", "Data-based investigation could have led to Bruce McArthur's arrest much sooner, says expert", "3 Killings in Tampa Frighten Residents and Perplex the Police", "51 days: A timeline of the Seminole Heights killings in Tampa", "Inquiry into alleged Bruce McArthur murders puts chief in hot seat", "LGBTQ community wonders why arrest took so long after racialized men had been disappearing for years", "Gay Village disappearances and police behaviour show 'whose lives are disposable and whose lives are not', "Toronto police chief says civilians failed to help investigation into alleged serial killer", "What is Chief Saunders thinking, adding insult to gay community's injury? He also stated that he believed there were serious issues of systemic bias which required an independent external review, and that he had been working with other officials on how to hold such a review without affecting investigations and prosecutions. The subject of his investigation was such a seemingly normal guy that Hunter compared him to "a taupe paint job in a suburban living room." [123] A version cleaned up by Ward to better represent the man in life and a sketch by a TPS forensic artist were released at an April 11 news conference. [122] Kanagaratnam was a Tamil asylum-seeker who was under a deportation order[123] and had not been reported missing. [165] He made his first court appearance on January 19, 2018, represented by lawyer Marianne Salih. McArthur, who . His research team developed an algorithm to perform cluster analysis on 800,000 American murders catalogued by the Murder Accountability Project, which has led to arrests in Cleveland and Chicago. Landscaper Bruce McArthur, 67, was first arrested last . [224] In July 2017 the TPA claimed that there was a staffing crisis with working conditions at "a breaking point", noting that staff had been reduced by 500 officers since 2010 while a budgetary task force recommended a hiring freeze. TPS spokesman Mark Pugash explained that they only release pictures if there is a "valid investigative purpose". The National Post notes the irony in the pet peeve his future wife listed in their high school yearbook: "someone who can't decide what they want." Like most serial killers, his MO had a ritualistic quality. "He was the best friend, neighbor, relative, anyone could want," she told 7News. The lack of explanation for a violent tragedy is part of the trauma, Lee said. I dont think people often pause to think about the larger social factors that go into enabling a killer like Bruce McArthur to continue getting away with his crimes, says Lee. Monday's . The same day, Tory spoke in favour of a "broader inquiry". While the police couldn't see the driver, they got the make and model of the . It might have been his devout, authoritarian father, his closeted homosexuality or a plethora of other hang-ups. [50] Some questioned whether police had been taking their concerns seriously. Idsinga noted the thoroughness required as the first murder was believed to have occurred eight years previously. By 1979 he had married and the couple went on to have a daughter in 1981 and a son in 1986. The officer would not divulge details of his conversations with . [120][116], A free concert called #LoveWins was initiated by Kristyn Wong-Tam, the only openly LGBTQ member of city council. [112], On February 23, McArthur was charged with a sixth count of first-degree murder in the death of Skandaraj Navaratnam, a subject of Project Houston. He said that McArthur was always accompanied by an older white man, who appeared to be romantically involved with him, and a day labourer, usually of Southeast Asian or Middle Eastern descent. With a potential break on the horizon, the police examined surveillance footage from across the street where Andrew's house was located. (Rene Johnston/Toronto Star/Getty Images) In 2019, McArthur pleaded guilty to eight counts of first-degree murder. Each murder was either premeditated or involved other crimes which qualified them as first-degree: six were "sexual in nature"[182] and five included confinement. [265] The film was nominated for the Donald Brittain Award at the 8th Canadian Screen Awards. And after a tumultuous marriage, children and living a straight life for decades, McArthur finally came out of the closet. He regularly met other local men for purposes of intimacy. HE was once a married man with two children at home who dressed up as Santa for kids at Christmas. Please try again. [77] Round-the-clock surveillance was put on McArthur, with instructions that he should be immediately arrested if observed "alone with anyone". To be able to begin to grieve and feel that vulnerability of loss, you have to feel a sense of safety and how can you do that if youre being constantly retraumatized?, Scott Bonn, a criminologist and author of a number of books on serial killers, said as humans we are uncomfortable with ambiguity. [186] The bar was found in McArthur's 2017 van and contained the DNA of Kinsman and Esen. He saved these digital photos in order to be able to relive his crimes later. The idea that the victims were marginalized, to the fact that the police really just gave up looking for them until they found their bodies is a pretty compelling story and it deserves to be told, says Day. [256], Canadian media have drawn criticism for the imbalance in images of McArthur and his alleged victims. [68], On October 3, plainclothes police officers arrived at Dom's Auto Parts in Courtice, Ontario, 70 kilometres (43mi) northeast of Toronto. [63] Cantlon then outlined McArthur's "post-offence rituals". [18], By the end of January, Idsinga said they were investigating an alleged serial killer who had concealed evidence by burying it across the city. For him, Lee said it may have been internal torment connected to the church he belonged to. Kevin Bryan, a former detective with York Regional Police's forensics unit, considered the amount of evidence to be catalogued and disclosed, and believed a trial was "years away". [83] The Toronto Sun reported that McArthur's computer had grisly photos of his suspected victims kept as trophies. [235], In January 2018, the Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention (ASAAP) demanded that the TPSB commission an external review of the investigation. [9][22][23], McArthur avoided incarceration, spending the first year of his sentence under house arrest,[17] followed by a six-month curfew and three years of probation. [260], The investigation, and its possible link to the still-unsolved 1970s murders, were the subject of Bob McKeown's television documentary "Murder in the Village", which aired in April 2018 as an episode of CBC Television's The Fifth Estate. Hank Idsinga and Toronto Star crime reporter Wendy Gillis, who has covered the case extensively since 2018. [107] The search concluded on May 11, having occupied ten forensic officers for nearly four months. But amid talk of closure there was also a question: Why did he do it? [145] While living in Iran, a childhood friend had cautioned him on coming out as gay, advising that he should "find God or leave". [226][58][60] At a February 29 TPSB meeting, Tory moved to have the internal report made public or as much as could be released given the ongoing investigation and legal proceedings. [115] The Star chose not to publish the photo because of its disturbing nature. [9], In November 2012,[39] the TPS launched a task force, dubbed "Project Houston", into the September 6, 2010, disappearance of Skandaraj "Skanda" Navaratnam,[40] believing that he had been murdered but having discovered no leads. Queer refugees, transgender and two-spirit people spoke of their vulnerabilities, experiencing disproportionate violence within the LGBTQ community. A new Canadian true-crime documentary about notorious serial killer Bruce McArthur is the first "super deep dive" broadcast about the murders of eight men in Toronto's gay village, says . Bruce McArthur, a 66-year-old grandfather, landscaper and mall Santa, has been arrested in the disappearance of two men from Toronto's gay community. However, they were all unfortunate enough to have met Bruce McArthur. Most serial killers start young and their bloodlust begins ebbing by the time theyre 50. Criticisms of the TPS's handling of the initial missing persons investigations have led to several internal reviews, an external review called by the civilian Toronto Police Services Board (TPSB) and the formation of a dedicated missing persons unit. The New York Times reported in February 2019 that McArthur pleaded guilty to the murders of the eight men and was sentenced to life in prison, and that he would not be eligible for parole for 25 years. [182], Reading from an agreed statement of fact,[183] Cantlon divulged details of the killings, which took place in Toronto between 2010 and 2017. [7] He frequented the bars of Church and Wellesley, Toronto's gay village, and moved into an apartment on Don Mills Road[6] while pursuing a four-year relationship with another man. In 2011, he told an acquaintance named Robert James about an incident in which he had been asked to leave a coffeehouse, which caused McArthur to knock all of the glasses off the counter in a rage. Another critic noted that events are pressured to go mainstream when attracting corporate sponsors, and overlook the needs of the community that they are meant to address. [269], In 2021, Swedish radio station P3 aired the documentary series Verkligheten i P3 and the episode "P barrunda med en seriemrdare", where Swedish gay man "Anders" told the story of how he had met McArthur in a Toronto bar in 2009, and gone on a drinking spree with him. McArthur was also active on online dating apps like manjam and silverdaddies, often using a variation on the username "silverfox. Also in 2019, the CBC aired Michael Del Monte's documentary film Village of the Missing as an episode of its documentary series CBC Docs POV. He was also credited for sparing family and friends of the victims a lengthy trial by pleading guilty. [62] The large number of tips generated in Tampa may have been influenced by a US$100,000 reward offered at that time. Toronto Star articles, please go to:, Conversations are opinions of our readers and are subject to the, New details reveal how flawed investigations and shoddy record-keeping cost Toronto police leads on serial killer Bruce McArthur, It took a Village: Inside the investigation that caught serial killer Bruce McArthur, The Toronto Star and, each property of Toronto Star

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