Alleged Toronto serial killer Bruce McArthur charged with 8th count of 1st-degree murder
Crown attorney Michael Cantlon announced the new charge in a Toronto courtroom on Monday.
The accused made an unscheduled court appearance via video wearing an orange jumpsuit and showed no emotion.
The latest victim has been identified as 37-year-old Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam. Authorities said he was allegedly murdered by McArthur sometime between Sept. 3 and Dec. 14, 2015.
“Mr. Kanagaratnam arrived in Canada in 2010 from Sri Lanka and lived in the Scarborough area of Toronto,” Det. Sgt. Hank Idsinga told reporters during a press conference on Monday.
“He was not on file as missing and we have no prior evidence which would link him to the Gay Village.”
Idsinga said Kanagaratnam is the man depicted in the previously released John Doe photograph.
“The identification was confirmed with assistance from an international government agency,” Idsinga said.
“While we are saddened, we are also tremendously proud and relieved to have been able to bring closure to the friends and family of Mr. Kanagaratnam and the seven other victims.”
The 66-year-old former landscaper is already facing seven charges of first-degree murder in the deaths of men linked to Toronto’s gay community.
The victim’s friend Muhunthan Sahathevan told Global News that Kanagaratnam arrived in Vancouver on a cargo ship in August, 2010 – just one of nearly 500 Sri Lankan Tamils who made the trip. Global News has confirmed that a lawyer from the Scarborough firm, the Law Office of Luxmi Vasan, attempted to get Kanagaratnam refugee status in 2013, but he was reportedly denied.
On Friday, police announced that they had identified a dead man believed to be an alleged victim of McArthur. Police released a photograph of the man on March 5.
Investigators said at the time that releasing the photo was a “last resort” to identify the man.
“We’re still dealing with the family and getting as much information as we can from them,” Idsinga said.
“The direct family is not in Canada and we had to utilize a Tamil speaking officer to get some information. So we’re getting more and more into the background of how long he’s been missing and what their reaction was to that.”
LISTEN: Catherine McDonald on the latest in the Bruce McArthur case
Police also said the remains of Kanagaratnam was one of seven sets located in planters discovered in a Toronto home on Mallory Crescent where McArthur worked and stored his landscaping tools.
Investigators previously identified three of the seven sets of remains as belonging to Andrew Kinsman, Soroush Mahmudi and Skandaraj Navaratnam.
Last week, police identified three more as belonging to Selim Esen, Dean Lisowick, and Abdulbasir Faizi.
Idsinga said he isn’t sure if more remains will be found in at least 70 more property searches linked to McArthur.
“As I’ve stated before, these remains are dismembered. Actually putting these remains together and definitively linking one part of the remains to another is still a work in progress,” Idsinga said.
VIDEO: Latest victim of alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur doesn’t fit profile: Toronto Police
Police also previously said they are probing cold cases that go as far back as 1975 to see if McArthur played a role in any of them.
As for Kanagaratnam, Idsinga said the lack of information linking him to the gay community may indicate that the accused broadened his search for victims elsewhere.
“We’re still working through any outstanding missing persons occurrence in Toronto. We’re still working through quite a few cold cases, murder cases from Toronto,” Idsinga said.
“This does create basically a wide-open net and we’ve had lots of calls, international calls since our pleas began, for people who just haven’t seen family members in years.”
VIDEO: Toronto police lay 7th first-degree charge against Bruce McArthur
Toronto police have faced heavy criticism from the public and the LGBTQ community in particular for their handling of the missing persons cases. As recently as six weeks before McArthur’s arrest, the force, including Chief Mark Saunders, said there was no indication the disappearances were the work of a serial killer.
Saunders apologized in February after seeming to suggest in a published interview that police might have cracked the cases earlier if members of the public had been more forthcoming with investigators.
An external review to be launched later this month will look into the way in which Toronto police investigated the missing men reports.
— With a file from Catherine McDonald, Jessica Patton and The Canadian Press
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