Toronto police homicide investigators say the remains of at least six people have now been recovered at a property on Mallory Crescent as part of the investigation into alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur.
One set of remains has been confirmed to be that of Andrew Kinsman, Det. Sgt. Hank Idsinga said outside of the residence in Toronto’s Leaside neighbourhood on Thursday.
He said the remains of five other people have yet to be identified.
McArthur, a 66-year-old self-employed landscaper, was charged last month with five counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of missing men from the city’s Church-Wellesley Village.
McArthur was arrested and charged with the first-degree murder of Selim Esen and Andrew Kinsman on Jan. 18 following a months-long probe into missing persons cases.
On Jan. 29, police said McArthur was charged with three more counts of first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of Majeed Kayhan, Dean Lisowick and Soroush Mahmudi.
Investigators said they believe there are more victims.
When contacted by Global News Thursday, Patricia Kinsman expressed relief that her brother’s remains have been recovered.
“We’re glad that he’s been found – or most of him has been found,” she said. “Now we’re just waiting to have him return to us, which will take a couple of months probably.”
She said the family remains “in shock.”
“When we were looking for him in July, August, September and right up into December, we just thought we were looking for Andrew – a body. It turns out we weren’t even close to the truth. Never in my nightmares did I think that this is what was going to come of it.”
LISTEN: Det. Sgt. Hank Idsinga joins The John Oakley Show on 640 Toronto
Meanwhile, investigators are continuing to examine large planters seized at sites throughout the Greater Toronto Area.
Idsinga said 15 planters have been collected in total.
He said the Leaside property — where McArthur stored landscaping equipment and visited several times — is the only place where remains have been discovered.
Police were seen emerging from the home on Thursday morning with bags and boxes. At the press conference, Idsinga said investigators have finished their search inside the home, and are moving outside to dig up the backyard.
Police have been thawing a 20-by-20-foot area for about a week, he said.
Kathy Gruspier, a forensic anthropologist with the Ontario Forensic Pathology Service, is leading the excavation.
McArthur, who was under police investigation since September, remains in custody. The charges have not been proven in court. He is scheduled to appear again in court on Feb. 14.
Police launched Project Houston in 2012 after three men went missing in the Church and Wellesley neighbourhood. Their investigation concluded in 2014 when leads in the case dried up.
Toronto police started a missing persons probe called Project Prism last August after Esen and Kinsman disappeared just a couple of months apart.
Police were subsequently criticized by the LGBTQ community for not escalating their search efforts and for dismissing rumours that a serial killer was in their midst.
Anyone who retained McArthur to do landscaping work or has information is being asked to contact the Toronto police team dedicated to the investigation at 416-808-2021 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-8477.
With files from Nick Westoll and Catherine McDonald