Serial killer Bruce McArthur pleaded guilty to eight counts of first-degree murder on Tuesday in connection to the disappearances of men with ties to the Toronto’s Church and Wellesley neighbourhood.
Here is a look at the eight lives lost at the hands of the 67-year-old landscaper.
Navaratnam was known to his friends as “Skanda” and was 40 years old at the time of his death. Police said that he was last seen leaving Zipperz, a popular gay bar in the Church and Carlton streets area with an unknown man on Sept. 16, 2010. McArthur’s Facebook profile showed he was friends with Navaratnam.
McArthur was charged with Navaratnam’s murder on Feb. 23, 2018.
Faizi, 42, was reported missing to Peel Regional Police by his family on Dec. 29, 2010. Officers suggested Faizi had simply left his family, so his wife divorced him, thinking he’d abandoned her and their two young daughters. He was last seen in Toronto’s Village neighbourhood. Police later found his car abandoned near the home of one of McArthur’s landscaping clients.
McArthur was charged with his murder on April 11, 2018.
Majeed ‘Hamid’ Kayhan, 58, was last seen Oct. 14, 2012 and was reported missing a day later by his son. Friends said previously that Kayhan had a sexual relationship with McArthur.
He was charged with Kayhan’s murder on Jan. 29, 2018.
The disappearances of Navaratnam, Faizi and Kayhan were part of the Project Houston police task force launched in 2012. Police closed the investigation in April 2014, saying none of the findings would classify anyone as a suspect of a criminal offence.
Soroush Mahmudi, 50, was an immigrant from Iran. He was reported missing in August 2015 by his wife.
McArthur was charged with Mahmudi’s murder on Jan. 29, 2018.
Dean Lisowick, 43 or 44 years old (exact age unknown), was killed by McArthur on or about April 23, 2016, police said. He was homeless and struggled with addiction. He hadn’t been reported missing when police announced he was one of McArthur’s victims. His friends described him as a caring person, with a big heart.
McArthur was charged with Lisowick’s murder on Jan. 29, 2018.
Selim Esen, 44, was reported missing April 14, 2017 and was last seen near Bloor and Yonge Streets. He was an immigrant from Turkey who came to Canada in 2013 to marry his boyfriend. A statement previously released by his brothers said Esen obtained university degrees in sociology and philosophy. Before he came to Canada, his brothers said Esen lived in Australia for three years. Once he was in Toronto, the statement said Esen completed a course on counselling so he could “provide help and support to people in the local community.”
Esen’s friend wrote on Facebook that at the time of his disappearance, however, Esen was unemployed and struggling with drugs.
McArthur was charged with Esen’s murder on Jan. 18, 2018.
Andrew Kinsman, 49, was reported missing June 26, 2017, a day after Toronto’s Pride Parade. He was last seen near Parliament and Winchester streets. His disappearance was noted quickly by friends and police. He was a LGBQT activist and former bartender in Toronto with many friends and was the proud owner of a 17-year-old cat. He was a superintendent and a long-term volunteer at the Toronto People with AIDS Foundation and was described as a loyal friend to many.
McArthur was charged with Kinsman’s murder on Jan. 18, 2018.
Toronto police launched Project Prism in August 2017 to investigate the disappearances of both Kinsman and Esen. Five months later McArthur was charged with both of their deaths.
Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam
Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam, 37, was the youngest of McArthur’s victims. He came to Canada from Sri Lanka in 2010 and lived in the Scarborough area. Friends and lawyers confirmed that Kanagaratnam was one of 492 Sir Lankan Tamils aboard the MV Sun Sea, a dilapidated cargo vessel that docked in British Columbia after a harrowing six-week voyage from Thailand.
Dinsan Vanniyasingam, who was also aboard the Sun Sea, said Kanagaratnam emerged as a well-liked and welcome presence on the boat. Vanniyasingam described him as innocent, trusting and helpful and could often be found singing songs and playing cards with fellow passengers. Vanniyasingam last saw Kanagaratnam when he ran into him in 2014 at a Toronto shopping mall. He said Kanagaratnam’s disappearance may have gone unnoticed due to the Sri Lankan’s struggle with his immigration status.
Kanagaratnam’s family had begun to actively search for him via Facebook posts and other online outreach efforts, but police said that by then, it was already too late.
Police struggled to identify Kanagaratnam and took the extraordinary step of releasing a photograph after his death. They had also released a composite sketch prior to the photo.
McArthur was charged with Kanagaratnam’s murder on April 16, 2018.