Police have arrested a Toronto grandfather as part of an investigation into the disappearance of two gay men, the Toronto Star reports.
Bruce McArthur, 66, was charged earlier this week with the first-degree murders of Selim Esen, 44, and Andrew Kinsman, 49, who went missing last April and June, respectively. The men were last seen in the Village, a downtown Toronto neighborhood catering to the LGBT community.
Police, who are currently searching five properties across Canada for the bodies of the victims, also believe McArthur is responsible for the deaths of multiple other men who have yet to be identified.
“I’m well aware of the difficulty in prosecuting people without recovering the bodies but in this case we believe we have strong enough evidence where we can do exactly that,” said Homicide Det.-Sgt. Hank Idsinga at a press conference.
Authorities say that McArthur had been in a sexual relationship with Kinsman, but the suspect’s connection with Esen is still unknown. It was noted that McArthur and the victims were active on several gay dating apps.
Toronto’s LGBT community members have been critical of the police for not doing enough to investigate the cases of Kinsman, Esen, and other men who disappeared from the Village in recent years, including Abdulbasir Faizi, Skandaraj Navaratnam, and Majeed Kayhan. Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders had previously dismissed rumors that the disappearances were the work of a serial killer targeting gay men.
“It didn’t feel like a lot these cases were being taken as seriously or that the response wasn’t as swift or as quick as it could have been,” said Glad Day Bookshop owner Michael Erickson.
McArthur, a self-employed landscaper who also worked as a mall Santa, made an appearance in court Friday and was returned to custody until February 14, when he will reappear in court via video.