Bruce McArthur

Mayor calls out Toronto police for missteps in Bruce McArthur case

Tensions have been running high between Toronto Police and members of the city's LGBT community in recent weeks, as more and more is revealed about the increasingly-grisly case of alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur.

McArthur was arrested in January, but only after years of speculation around Toronto's Gay Village that a serial killer could be responsible for the disappearances of several men from the Church and Wellesley area dating all the way back to 2010.

Today, with six first-degree murder charges laid and four sets of remains yet to be identified, Mayor John Tory has called for an independent review of how police handled the missing persons cases that have since been linked back McArthur.

This, after a series of events that did little to raise confidence in the Toronto Police Service among those hardest hit by McArthur's vicious alleged crimes.

Last week, Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders – who as recently as December blew off the idea that a serial killer was responsible for the Village disappearances – was criticized widely for suggesting that the community hadn't done enough to help the investigation.

As many within the community pointed out, people had been (and are still) trying.

On Tuesday evening, The Star reported that McArthur had been brought in by police for questioning sometime between 2014 and 2017 in connection with an unrelated incident and let go.

The homicide detective in charge of the case, Det. Sgt. Hank Idsinga, confirmed Wednesday morning that police had launched an internal probe after discovering some "concerning" information about officers who may have violated the force's policies and our procedures.

Mayor John Tory, who has been largely supportive police in the matter thus far, released a statement of his own on Wednesday afternoon regarding how police have handled the case.

"I continue to be deeply disturbed by the revelations of the Bruce McArthur case, and the murders and disappearances of Toronto residents and members of our LGBTQ community," he said in the statement.

"I know that the public has many questions related to this case, and I have questions, too. That is why I support open and transparent reviews of how our police service handles missing person cases generally and how these specific investigations were conducted."

Tory goes on to say that he will be taking steps to advance an independent external review into Toronto Police Service's "practices with respect to missing person's investigations."

The remains of seven different people have now been recovered from planters at a property where the 66-year-old landscaper worked, and new pieces of evidence – like the post-mortem photo of a potential victim released by police on Monday – continue to surface regularly

To date, McArthur has been charged with murder in the deaths of Selim Esen, Soroush Mahmudi, Dean Lisowick, Andrew Kinsman, Majeed Kayhan and Skandaraj Navaratnam.

Police say they believe there are more victims, but have "no idea" how high the body count could be or how far back the killings go.

Lead photo by

Bruce Reeve

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