Toronto, Canada has been rocked by the shocking story of a now-convicted serial killer. Landscaper Bruce McArthur was accused of killing multiple male victims and then hiding their remains on a client’s property and in a ravine adjacent to it. The list of victims, who mostly went missing from Toronto’s Gay Village, continued to grow as the investigation progressed.
Toronto authorities investigated then-66-year-old landscaper Bruce McArthur in connection to multiple murders throughout 2018. He had been accused of killing at least eight people, but police believed there might be more victims. As the investigation continued, McArthur’s victim count rose. Here’s an update on Toronto’s serial killer and a list of his victims.
A Timeline of Key Events
2001 – Bruce McArthur is convicted of assault with a weapon, and assault causing bodily harm for attacking a man with a pipe. He is barred from an area of downtown Toronto that includes the Gay Village. His conditional sentence prohibits him from spending time with “male prostitutes.”
November 2012 – Police launch Project Houston, an investigation into the disappearances of three men from the Gay Village.
April 2014 – The investigation is closed due to lack of any findings to identify a suspect.
August 2017 – Police launch Project Prism, an investigation into the disappearances of Selim Esen and Andrew Kinsman.
September 2017 – Investigators identify Bruce McArthur, 66, as a suspect in Kinsman’s disappearance.
December 8, 2017 – Police look into missing person investigations. They deny the presence of a serial killer in Toronto.
January 17, 2018 – Police uncover evidence leading them to suspect McArthur.
January 18, 2018 – McArthur is arrested in connection with the deaths of Esen and Kinsman. He is charged with first-degree murder.
Both victims went missing from Toronto’s Gay Village in 2017. The circumstances of their disappearances are unexplained.
January 19, 2018 – McArthur appears in court in Toronto.
January 29, 2018 – The charges pile on. He is charged with three more counts of murder in connection to the deaths of Majeed Kayhan, Soroush Mahmudi, and Dean Lisowick.
January 30, 2018 – Reports reveal that cops rescued a man tied to McArthur’s bed after which they arrested the landscaper.
Police scour over 30 properties McArthur worked on. They confirm human remains were discovered in planters at at least one of the properties. Later on, it’s discovered it’s just one client’s property where they found remains in planters: 53 Mallory Cres., in the Leaside area of Toronto.
February 8, 2018 – Police confirm that the remains of six people have been identified. One set of the remains is of Andrew Kinsman.
February 13, 2018 – Police end the excavation of the yard at 53 Mallory Cres., the home where the planters containing remains were stored. No further remains were found, but police say that they may return to the yard when warmer weather makes it easier to dig.
February 23, 2018 – Another first-degree murder charge is laid against McArthur, as Skandaraj Navaratnam’s remains have been found and identified.
March 4, 2018 – Toronto Police release the photo of what they believe is an unidentified victim in the hopes of identifying him. According to the CBC, the photo was discovered on McArthur’s computer.
March 5, 2018 – Police announce that the remains of a seventh victim have been discovered.
April 11, 2018 – A seventh first-degree murder charge is laid on McArthur, as he is charged with murdering Abdulbasir Faizi.
April 16, 2018 – Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam is the latest victim to be identified. McArthur is charged with yet another count of first-degree murder. Police say that Kanagaratnam is the man from the photo released on March 4.
Authorities believe there are more victims. They will re-examine hundreds of missing persons cases, and look into properties that McArthur worked on.
Investigators are using archaeological tools and ground penetrating radar to excavate the Mallory property. Fifteen flower planters have been recovered, but details of whether or not they were searched are unknown.
April 25, 2018 – Bruce McArthur, unshaven and dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit, makes a brief appearance in court by video from a Toronto jail. His case is held over until May 23. Michael Cantlon, a prosecutor for the Crown, tells the court his office would have more evidence to turn over to the defense before the next court date.
May 23, 2018 – McArthur, looking downcast, makes another brief appearance in court via video. He says little and is remanded in custody until his next court date, which is also expected to be short.
July 4, 2018 – Toronto Police announce they are resuming excavation at the same Mallory Crescent home where they found the remains of seven men hidden in large planters.
Police, along with cadaver dogs, start to search the backyard and ravine located behind the property.
Investigators quickly discover “items,” but don’t say exactly what they are. A black vehicle, which looks to be a body removal van, shows up later on the property.
July 5, 2018 – Toronto Police confirm the “items” discovered the previous day in the ravine behind the Mallory Cres. property are human. Toronto Police Det. Sgt. Hank Idsinga, the lead investigator, says the remains were found in “what’s essentially a compost pile.”
This is the first time that remains have been found in a location outside of the planters located on the Mallory property.
July 6, 2018 – Police announce that more human remains have been found in the ravine behind the Leaside home on Thursday July 5, linked to alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur.
The body parts were buried under around three feet of surface soil in the ravine. This marks the second straight day police have found body parts.
Det. Hank Idsinga says Toronto Police cannot confirm if the dismembered remains are from the same person located on July 4 until results from fingerprint and dental testing come back. The identification process will take “days, weeks or months.”
Idsinga also states that finding the new set of remains wasn’t surprising. “The more we dig, the more we’re finding. We’ll see where we end up,” he said.
He indicates that investigators will continue to dig as long as they get reactions from cadaver dogs.
“There could be more remains found, whether there are more victims out of those remains is another question. The remains that we’re finding, they may belong to the seven victims whose remains we’ve already uncovered,” Idsinga says.
July 17, 2018 – After nearly two weeks of excavating in the ravine behind the Leaside property, Toronto police announce they have found human remains virtually every single day since returning to the Mallory Crescent property on July 5.
The remains have been as small as a bone fragment or teeth.
Investigators can’t say if the remains belong to one of the previously identified victims or are related to yet unknown victims. As indicated, the identification process could take months.
July 20, 2018 – At a press conference, Toronto police announce all remains recovered in the excavation have been identified as belonging to Majeed Kayhan. Inspector Hank Idsinga says there’s no evidence to indicate that the remains of any victims outside of the original eight will be found anywhere.
November 30, 2018 – Bruce McArthur’s trial is scheduled for Jan. 6, 2020.
January 29, 2019 – Bruce McArthur pleads guilty to eight counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of eight men with links to Toronto’s Gay Village community.
February 1-5, 2019 – Toronto Police Sgt. Paul Gaulthier faces disciplinary charges of insubordination and neglect of duty in relation to a separate, unrelated arrest of Bruce McArthur back in 2016.
An internal review of the handling of the McArthur case revealed that the gardener had been arrested and interviewed on allegations he strangled a man in the back of his van in June 2016. The victim escaped and called 911 to report the incident.
Gaulthier is accused of failing to record the victim’s statement on video as well as failing to photograph the man’s injuries within a 72-hour period. McArthur was released without charges after the officer found him “credible.”
Gaulthier misses his scheduled first appearance before the police tribunal on Tuesday, February 5.
February 8, 2019 – Bruce McArthur is sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole until 25 years served. If he survives, he will be 91 years old.
First-degree murder convictions carry an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years in Canada. However, courts have the option to hand down consecutive terms of parole ineligibility in cases where there are multiple convictions.
McArthur will serve his eight sentences concurrently, or at the same time.
The Crown attorneys had asked for two consecutive sentences with no parole eligibility for 50 years. But Justice John McMahon argued that by pleading guilty, McArthur had spared the victims’ loved ones a “graphic public trial.” McMahon also took McArthur’s age into consideration.
He said at the sentencing: “There is a fine line between retribution, which is an appropriate sentencing principle, and vengeance.”
List of Identified Victims
McArthur has been convicted on eight counts of first-degree murder. The number of victims was expected to increase as Toronto Police Service continued with its investigation, though officials announced in July 2018 that they had no evidence of additional victims.
In addition to the property searches, investigators worked backwards, combing through missing persons cases to look for any connections to McArthur. The city’s gay community had been urging authorities for years to look into disappearances, fearing they might be related.
The following are the men who went missing from Gay Village and are connected to McArthur. This list includes known victims as well as those thought to be possible victims.
1. Skandaraj “Skanda” Navaratnam
Last seen: September 6, 2010
Reports say he was last seen leaving a popular gay bar in the Church and Carlton Sts. Area with an unknown man. According to Navaratnam’s friend, he was romantically involved with McArthur since 2000.
His remains were discovered at the bottom of a planter found at 53 Mallory Cres.
2. Abdulbasir “Basir” Faizi
Last seen: December 29, 2010
Faizi has a wife and two daughters.
He was last seen in the same area as Navaratnam. His car was found abandoned on Moore Ave.
He told his wife that he was going drinking with co-workers. Instead, he spent his evening at a men-only bathhouse.
Much like the other victims, Faizi’s body was found in the bottom of a planter. Police stated that they believe that Faizi knew McArthur before he was murdered.
3. Majeed “Hamid” Kayhan
Last seen: October 14, 2012
He was a regular at the bars of Gay Village. His son reported him missing after a week of no contact with him. Kayhan was part of the second set of murder charges against Kayhan.
4. Selim Esen
Last seen: April 14, 2017
He was last seen in the Yonge and Bloor area. He frequented the Ted Rogers Way area. He was one of the first murder charges filed against McArthur.
5. Andrew Kinsman
Last seen: June 26, 2017
His last known location was 71 Winchester St. In August 2017, police launched Project Prism to investigate the case of Kinsman and Esen.
Among the remains found in planters at 53 Mallory, police positively identified one of the victims as Kinsman.
6. Soroush Mahmudi
Last seen: August 2015
Last seen near Markham Rd. and Blakemanor Blvd, Mahmudi was a married man who disappeared unexpectedly. Currently, it is unknown how Mahmudi and McArthur knew each other, or for how long.
7. Dean Lisowick
Last seen: Between 2016 and 2017
A resident of the Toronto’s shelter system, he was not reported missing. He was a well-known fixture in the Gay Village. Police say he was killed by McArthur in 2016 or 2017.
8. Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam
Last seen: August 2015
Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam; Source: Toronto Police ServicesMany details about Kanagaratnam’s disappearance are currently unknown, but we do know that his mother and sister last spoke to him in August 2015. Toronto police stated that they believe Kanagaratnam’s murder took place somewhere between September and mid- December 2015.
His remains were also found in a planter, but it wasn’t until they released a photo of an unknown deceased man that police were able to put a name to the remains. He was confirmed as a victim on April 16, 2018.
Possible Victims Also Identified
As Toronto police expanded their search, other possible victims of Bruce McArthur were named.
1. Jon Riley
Age when he went missing: 47
Last seen: May 2013
Riley’s sister, Judi, is convinced that her missing brother may be an unfound victim. She claims that her brother was known to stay in hostels near Toronto’s Gay Village, and was also a landscaper. At the time of his disappearance, he was looking for work. Toronto police said they are looking into the case, but no official connection has been made at this time.
2. 1970s Serial Killings
From 1975 to 1978, 14 men from Toronto’s gay community were murdered in a brutal fashion. At least seven of those murders went unsolved. No official connections have been made, but officials stated that they are revisiting those case files. At the time of those murders, McArthur would have been in his 20s, and working in the Toronto area.