TORONTO – Ontario’s attorney general says the government is reviewing a call from Toronto’s mayor for a public inquiry into the police handling of missing persons cases, including six men allegedly murdered by accused serial killer Bruce McArthur.
Yasir Naqvi says the government will maintain an open dialogue with the city on next steps following the conclusion of any criminal proceedings.
Questions about the handling of two previous police investigations into five missing men arose as detectives investigated McArthur, a 66-year-old landscaper who is facing six charges of first-degree murder. All the alleged victims had ties to the city’s LGBTQ community.
Mayor John Tory said Wednesday that he was “deeply disturbed” after learning that “concerning” information uncovered during the McArthur investigation had prompted an internal police probe.
Tory said he would also support an independent external review of the Toronto Police Service’s practices with respect to missing person’s investigations.
He said that probe should look at any systemic concerns, including examination of any bias contrary to the Ontario Human Rights Code against any group, including the LGBTQ community.
“We recognize that there are many unanswered questions,” Naqvi said Thursday in a statement.
Police spokeswoman Meaghan Gray said Wednesday that the force’s professional standards unit launched the internal investigation on Monday, but she also declined to discuss the nature of the information that prompted the probe.
Two sources with knowledge of the case, but who did not want their names used because they were not authorized to speak publicly, told The Canadian Press that the “concerning” information was linked to a police interview with McArthur years ago for an unrelated incident.
Members of the city’s LGBTQ community have complained for years that police were ignoring their concerns about a possible serial killer on the loose. Late last year, Toronto police assured the community that there was no known link between the different missing person cases.