TORONTO — More murder charges are expected to be laid against a self-employed landscaper already accused in the presumed deaths of five men, as investigators continue to search properties linked to Bruce McArthur, Toronto police said Wednesday.
Police have said that investigators had found two planters with the skeletal remains of three individuals, but Det. Sgt. Hank Idsinga told reporters Wednesday there are still more than a dozen planters that need to be processed by forensic teams.
"We have over a dozen planters and we're not just grabbing every planter we see. If there is an indication from the canine units that there is some decomposition around that planter, we will grab it,'' Idsinga said on Wednesday. "We have been doing that essentially since Saturday, going to different locations. It is quite a time consuming process.''
McArthur, 66, was arrested and charged Jan. 18 in the presumed deaths of Selim Esen, 44, and Andrew Kinsman, 49, who police said went missing from Toronto's gay village last spring.
He was further charged Monday in the deaths of two missing men — Majeed Kayhan, 58, and Soroush Mahmudi, 50 — as well as Dean Lisowick, who was in his 40s when he went missing.
"We believe there are more victims on top of those five,'' Idsinga said. "I can't give you any idea about a number, but I do expect more charges to be laid.''
Investigators plan to also excavate part of the lawn at a home in uptown Toronto where McArthur was known to have worked, Idsinga said Wednesday, adding that the work may start later this week or early next week.
He said police have set up heaters on the property where the excavation work will take place to keep the ground from freezing.
"There is a specialist who comes in, a forensic anthropologist who does that, and it's essentially done by hand,'' he said. "We can't go in there with a digger and disturb any of the evidence.''
Meanwhile, investigators are also searching the basement of the home on Mallory Crescent, but Idsinga said cadaver dogs did not detect anything that prompted the search.
Since McAruthur's arrest, Idsinga said police have received dozens of tips and are continuing to investigate "well over 30'' locations linked to him. They also continue to encourage homeowners who hired McArthur to reach out so their properties can be searched.
Idsinga also said tips have come in from around the world, adding that police may also look into cases where people who have come to the city have not returned to their home countries, as well as homicides outside Toronto.
We think we've got the right guy and hopefully we've put this to rest.Det. Sgt. Hank Idsinga
The Toronto Police Service is facing considerable backlash for initially shutting down fears in Toronto's LGBTQ community that a serial killer was prowling the gay village.
Officials, including police Chief Mark Saunders, stressed that as recently as December police did not know whether Esen's and Kinsman's disappearances were linked or if they were alive.
"I've actually had some conversations with some citizens from the Church and Wellesley area, and they're feeling more of a sense of relief rather than fear,'' Idsinga said. "We think we've got the right guy and hopefully we've put this to rest.''
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story stated that Dean Lisowick was 47 years old, which is the age originally reported by police. However, police later said he was 43 or 44 years old when he went missing.
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