Several residents and LGBTQ community members gathered for a town hall meeting with police in downtown Toronto on Tuesday to discuss the disappearances of two men from the Church-Wellesley neighbourhood.
The meeting comes after the Toronto Police Service recently announced it has set up a task force to investigate the disappearances of 49-year-old Andrew Kinsman and 44-year-old Selim Esen. Both men disappeared in downtown Toronto this year and police said they were active on social media dating applications.
Toronto Police Supt. Tony Riviere, the unit commander for 51 Division, met with those in attendance and said officers continue to receive a lot of information on the disappearances from residents.
“It shows that [the community is] mobilized. There’s no doubt in my mind that a successful investigation will include their support,” Riviere told reporters outside the meeting at The 519.
“We wanted to get the message out there that anything – anything at all – that they may deem to be necessary with regards to the investigation, to pass it on to police.”
Officers said there have been some suggestions within the Church-Wellesley community that the disappearances of Kinsman and Esen are linked with other men reported missing from the same area from 2010 to 2012. However, police said there doesn’t appear to be a connection based on the evidence collected so far.
Riviere said the task force will focus on Kinsman and Esen’s disappearances, but “it opens up itself to take into consideration other investigations that may come to the surface.”
Greg Downer, a friend of Kinsman and the organizer of the town hall meeting, said he wanted to bring the community together “to dispel a lot of the misinformation” and to provide safety information and supports.
“We’re going to put some infrastructure in place so if somebody goes missing in the future, the family and friends and colleagues of someone who’ s been missing don’t have to figure out what to do,” Downer said just before the meeting.
“They can contact us and at a moment’s notice, we can have everything ready for them.”
WATCH: Toronto’s LGBTQ community raises concerns about the missing. Angie Seth speaks with Greg Downer. (July 30)
Downer also said he wanted to access the level of safety concern. He urged the community to report anything they may have seen.
“Look at the faces. Try to see if you might have remembered seeing somebody,” Downer said.
“Let’s not lose hope. Let’s keep looking. Let’s keep the names and the faces out there. There’s still searches going on.”
Kinsman was last seen on June 26 near Parliament and Winchester streets. Police described him as standing 6’2”, weighing 220 pounds and having buzz-cut brown hair and beard. He wears glasses and has several tattoos.
Esen was last seen on April 14 near Bloor and Yonge streets. Police described him as standing 5’10”, weighing 150 pounds and having brown eyes, hair and beard. Investigators said he often carries a silver suitcase with wheels.
Anyone with information is asked to call police at 416-808-5100 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-8477.
With files from David Shum and Kayla McLean