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Former classmate shocked by murder accusations facing Bruce McArthur

Bruce McArthur grew up in the Woodville area.
Bruce McArthur grew up in the Woodville area. Dan Nyznik/CHEX News

A former schoolmate says he’s shocked to learn about the murder accusations facing Bruce McArthur.

“I could not believe it because I could see nothing from the past,” said Robert MacEachern of Woodville, Ont.

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More than 50 years ago, he and McArthur were classmates at a former one-room schoolhouse in the farming community 30 kilometres northwest of Lindsay.

MacEachern says he recalls McArthur was a good singer but their connection was limited to the classroom.

“He sung in singing contests — I never knew him much from school,” said MacEachern. “He wasn’t somebody that I associated with — not for any particular reason to slander the man, it was just the way it was.

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“He didn’t become a farmer like I did so we didn’t have the common interests.”

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McArthur, 66, of Toronto, faces five counts of first-degree murder — two originally were laid in mid-January in connection with the disappearances of Selim Esen and Andrew Kinsman. Another three charges were laid last week in connection with the deaths of Soroush Mahmudi, Majeed Kayhan and Dean Lisowick.

McArthur spent his childhood on a farm close to where MacEachern lives and raises beef cattle with his wife, Lynda. McArthur, who also attended Fenelon Falls Secondary, left Kawartha Lakes for the GTA in 1970 at the age of 18. Some relatives including his sister, Sandra, still live in the Woodville area.

MacEachern says he last saw the man a year ago at Sandra’s anniversary party.

“But I had no conversation with him at that time,” he said. “I just seen him that he was there, part of the family event.”