3 more sets of remains identified in alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur investigation: police
McArthur, a self-employed landscaper, is facing seven charges of first-degree murder in the deaths of men connected to the Church-Wellesley Village.
Since McArthur’s arrest in January, police said they have found the remains of seven people in planters at a Toronto property where McArthur used to work.
WATCH: Toronto police say 5 bodies found in planters in Bruce McArthur investigation now positively identified
Investigators previously identified three of the seven sets of remains as belonging to Andrew Kinsman, Soroush Mahmudi and Skandaraj Navaratnam.
Det. Sgt. Hank Idsinga told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday that investigators have now identified three more as belonging to Selim Esen, Dean Lisowick, and Abdulbasir Faizi.
In a court appearance earlier in the day Wednesday, McArthur was charged with first-degree murder in connection with the 42-year-old Faizi, one of the missing men from Project Houston, a police task force launched in November 2012 to investigate the disappearances of men from the city’s LGBTQ community.
The court was told that Faizi was reported missing on Dec. 29, 2010. His car was found abandoned days later on Moore Avenue not far from the home on Mallory Crescent in Toronto where McArthur did landscape work and where the planters with human remains were found.
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Idsinga said investigators are now finished with the planters and no further remains have been found.
The remains of alleged victim Majeed Kayhan have not yet been identified.
Idsinga said investigators are currently reviewing 15 homicide cold cases between 1975 and 1997. He said the number is “fluid” and may “increase or decrease” as the investigation continues. He said there is no evidence at this time to make the connection between McArthur and the cases.
WATCH: Toronto police still working on naming unidentified male in Bruce McArthur investigation
Idsinga also said that as a result of tips and help from the public, police will search 75 properties connected to McArthur beginning next month.
Meanwhile, forensic investigators continue to work at McArthur’s Thorncliffe Park apartment. Idsinga said they will likely remain there for “two to three more weeks.”
“We’ve quite frankly never seen anything like that,” Idsinga said, adding he wouldn’t go into specifics as to what has been found in the apartment
“Forensic investigators are literally going over the apartment inch by inch.”
Police also released an enhanced version of a photograph released in early March of the body of an unidentified man they said is an alleged victim of McArthur.
The photo, which was enhanced by Nikki Ward, a graphic artist and prominent member of the LGBTQ community, along with a rendition of the victim drawn by a forensic artist with the Toronto Police Service, will be placed on a flyer and distributed both online and around the community.
“Keep in mind that the resident may not have been a resident of Toronto,” Idsinga said.
“Any additional international coverage of this photograph by the media would be appreciated.”
To date, Idsinga said police have received over 500 tips in regard to the photo. From those tips, over 70 potential identities have been uncovered.
“The majority of the potential identities have been eliminated, but [investigators] continue to work on 22 of them,” he said.
“We are cautiously optimistic to connect one of the remaining 22 with the photograph.”
McArthur was first arrested and charged with the first-degree murder of Esen and Kinsman on Jan. 18 following a months-long probe into cases of missing men from the city’s Church-Wellesley Village.
VIDEO: A seventh murder charge has been laid against alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur. Catherine McDonald brings us the latest.
On Jan. 29, police said McArthur was charged with three more counts of first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of Kayhan, Lisowick and Mahmudi.
On Feb. 23, McArthur was charged with a sixth count of first-degree murder in the death of Navaratnam.
Idsinga said 20 people are working full-time on the investigation and that there is no end in sight.
“I have said that from day one we do not know how deep this is going to go,” he said.
The charges against McArthur haven’t been proven in court.
Anyone who retained McArthur to do landscaping work or who has information has been 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 David Shum, Nick Westoll and The Canadian Press
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