UPDATE: 2:00 p.m.
Police have identified the remains of more men suspected to have been murdered by alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur as they expand their investigation more than four decades into the past.
Det. Sgt. Hank Idsinga said the 66-year-old self-employed landscaper is now facing a total of seven first-degree murder charges related to the deaths of men with ties to Toronto’s LGBTQ community.
Idsinga said police plan to investigate at least 70 more properties where McArthur is believed to have worked, adding that the operation may get underway as early as next month. Police also remain on the scene of McArthur’s east-Toronto apartment, calling it an unprecedented investigative scene.
“We’ve quite frankly never seen anything like it,” Idsinga said. “I think it’s easily set the record for a forensic examination of an apartment.”
On Wednesday, Idsinga also released an enhanced version of a photograph of a man believed to be another one of McArthur’s alleged victims. He said police have received hundreds of tips, but have yet to identify the man in the image.
Many of McArthur’s alleged victims were the subject of two previous police probes into the disappearances of men from the city’s gay village.
The first police probe — named Project Houston — was launched in 2012 to investigate the disappearances of Faizi, Kayhan and Navaratnam. It closed after 18 months as it did not establish the whereabouts of the missing men or resolve the circumstances on their disappearances, police said.
In August 2017, police launched Project Prism, which looked into the disappearances of Kinsman and Esen. McArthur popped up on the police radar in the fall of 2017 as part of Project Prism.
Alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur is now facing a seventh charge of first-degree murder.
The 66-year-old landscaper appeared by video in a Toronto courtroom this morning, where the new charge was announced. A Crown lawyer said outside court that the charge relates to the death of Abdulbasir Faizi.
McArthur has already been charged with the first-degree murder of six other men who have connections to the city’s LGBTQ community.
Court documents show police allege McArthur killed Faizi on or around Dec. 29, 2010, in Toronto. Further details are expected at a police news conference scheduled for this afternoon.
McArthur, who appeared wearing an orange jumpsuit, spoke in court only to say his name and acknowledge that he understood the charges against him. He is scheduled to return to court April 25 to find out whether any more evidence has been turned over to the defence.
McArthur was arrested in January and charged with the murders of Andrew Kinsman and Selim Esen, who went missing from Toronto’s gay village in 2017.
Later that month, McArthur was charged with the first-degree murder of Majeed Kayhan, Soroush Mahmudi, and Dean Lisowick. In February, he was also charged in the death of Skandaraj Navaratnam.
Police have recovered the dismembered remains of seven people from planters found at a home in midtown Toronto where McArthur worked and stored equipment. They’ve identified three sets of remains so far — those of Kinsman, 49, Mahmudi, 50, and Navaratnam, 40
In addition to the ongoing homicide investigation, there are a number of other related probes, including an internal investigation that a source says is related to a previous police interview of McArthur.
The city’s police board has also approved an external review, requested by Mayor John Tory, that will look into how the force handled the cases of men missing from the gay village.
And Chief Mark Saunders initiated an internal review that will become public, and has called for some form of public inquiry.
The Canadian Press