A day after a suspected serial killer was charged in connection with the deaths of two missing Toronto men, Global News has learned the accused was under police investigation for months.
Homicide investigators announced on Thursday that 66-year-old Bruce McArthur was arrested at his Toronto home following a months-long probe into missing persons cases. McArthur was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, the first count in connection with the death of Andrew Kinsman and the second count in the death of Selim Esen.
Both men disappeared in downtown Toronto last year. Andrew was last seen on June 26 near Parliament and Winchester streets and Esen was last seen on April 14 near Bloor and Yonge streets. Police at the time called both missing persons cases as suspicious. In August 2017, Project Prism was created to allow officers to investigate the disappearances.
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During a press conference Thursday, Det. Sgt. Hank Idsinga said investigators made “significant progress” on Wednesday.
However, Global News has learned that McArthur was under police investigation for some time. In October staff at Dom’s Auto Parts in Courtice, Ont., were visited by investigators.
“They wanted to know if we had a particular van that we had purchased. They gave me the [vehicle identification number], we ran it through the system (and) we found we had processed it through our garage,” garage owner Dominic Vtere told Global News Friday, adding he gave officers surveillance video showing McArthur arriving at the shop on Sept. 16.
Vtere said police took DNA samples from everyone at the business who had contact with the van before officers seized it.
Harry Cribb, who works at the shop and bought a 2004 maroon-coloured Dodge Caravan from McArthur for $125, said the transaction wasn’t out of the ordinary.
“We get a lot of people coming in. He was just a normal guy selling a car the way normally they do — didn’t look stressed out or anything, Cribb said.
“I can’t say for sure because I didn’t actually see him leave, but he must have had someone here with him… to drive him away.”
Meanwhile, police attended multiple properties associated with McArthur. Global News learned he house sat and did landscaping work at a Leaside home and attended a Don Mills condo associated with a boyfriend. Investigators were seen at both properties Friday gathering evidence.
In Madoc, Ont., OPP and Toronto police officers were seen examining a rural property associated with McArthur.
Global News also learned another car was removed by police on Thursday at McArthur’s Thorncliffe Park apartment building as forensics investigators gathered evidence inside the apartment unit.
Meanwhile, McArthur appeared in a Toronto court Friday morning and was remanded into custody. He is scheduled to appear in court again on Feb. 14 through video link.
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