Forensic investigators along with the K-9 unit continued to comb through a Leaside property connected to suspected serial killer Bruce McArthur on Sunday.
Homicide investigators announced on Thursday that 66-year-old 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 suspicious. In August 2017, Project Prism was created to allow officers to investigate the disappearances.
Police and forensic investigators have been on scene at the Leaside home, located on Mallory Crescent, all weekend. Global News learned that McArthur house-sat and did landscaping work at the home.
“He was here quite a bit,” neighbour Sheila Lemire told Global News on Sunday. “I’ve seen him in his van unloading stuff and putting stuff in and doing some gardening around.”
Lemire said she would see McArthur when she was out walking her dog. She said when news broke he had been arrested, she was in shock.
“I did recognize him and I thought ‘oh my god.’ I think the saddest thing is that I hope there is closure for these people.”
Global News 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 in regard to a 2004 maroon-coloured Dodge Caravan that McArthur sold to a worker for $125.
WATCH: Catherine McDonald reports from the Leaside neighbourhood with new information on the investigation into Bruce McArthur. (Jan. 19)
“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.
“They said it was a high-profile case, but they didn’t tell us that it was related to these missing gentlemen in particular,” said Vetere.
He said he only connected the dots when police announced McArthur’s arrest last week.
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Vetere said two plainclothes officers asked him to run a vehicle identification number to track down the van, and they were “excited” when they found it intact.
Vetere said police towed away the vehicle, and many more visits followed.
He said officers interviewed his staff and copied surveillance video that showed a man who appeared to be McArthur visiting the shop.
Vetere said officers told him they found blood in the vehicle in the weeks following.
“It was a trace amount of blood,” said Vetere. “None of us even noticed it, even the dismantler didn’t notice it.”
Vetere said police are fortunate the van was sold to his shop, since a scrap shop would’ve disposed of it immediately, and many others don’t bother recording vehicle identification numbers.
The Leaside home is just one of several properties police have attended in connection to the investigation, including a Don Mills condo associated with an alleged boyfriend of McArthur.
In Madoc, Ont., OPP and Toronto police officers were seen examining a rural property associated with McArthur.
Investigators were also at a home in Scarborough on Friday and Saturday, where residents said McArthur was seen doing landscaping work. Police have since cleared the scene.
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.
McArthur appeared in a Toronto court Friday morning and was remanded into custody. He is scheduled to appear in court again on Feb. 14 via video link.
—With files from Nick Westoll, Catherine McDonald and The Canadian Press
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