Bruce McArthur charged with 1st-degree murders of 2 men who disappeared from Toronto’s Gay Village

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Toronto police have announced that a man has been arrested and charged with the first-degree murders of Andrew Kinsman and Selim Esen, who they presume to be dead.

Police said they arrested Bruce McArthur, 66, of Toronto, on Thursday morning and will search five properties connected with him in Toronto and Madoc, Ont.

“We believe he is responsible for the deaths of Mr. Esen and Mr. Kinsman, and we believe he is responsible for the deaths of other men who have yet to be identified,” said Det-Sgt. Hank Idsinga. “In other words, we believe there are other victims.”

Man charged with 1st-degree murder in Church-Wellesley disappearances1:27

McArthur was self-employed as a landscaper and lived in the Thorncliffe Park area, police said.

Idsinga said the bodies of Esen and Kinsman have yet to be found, but that police have a “pretty good idea” what their cause of death was.

“At this stage, we are most concerned with identifying other victims of Mr. McArthur,” he said.

Men missing for months

Kinsman, 49, went missing from Cabbagetown in June, while Esen, 44, was last seen in the Yonge and Bloor area last April.

A police task force called Project Prism was established in August to investigate their disappearances and share information with another task force looking into the 2012 disappearances of three other men in the Church and Wellesley area, called Project Houston.

Rumours had swirled in Toronto’s Gay Village that a string of disappearances from the area could be connected, but in December, investigators had said that there was no proof that a serial killer was operating in the area.

Missing posters

Missing posters for Kinsman and Esen hung in a shop window in Toronto’s Church and Wellesley area over the summer. (Kate McGillivray/CBC)

On Thursday, police Chief Mark Saunders commented on that statement.

“In policing what we do is we follow the evidence, and what I said at the time … was accurate at that time,” he said.

Now, police say they are actively working to identify other possible victims.

They ask that any member of the public with information contact them at 416-808-2021.

McArthur had sexual relationship with Kinsman

News of the disappearances of Esen and Kinsman also sparked concern among residents in the heart of Toronto’s gay community about the safety of online dating.

On Thursday, police said McArthur had been active on several dating apps, as were both missing men.

Idsinga also revealed that McArthur and Kinsman were involved in a sexual relationship for “some time.” He said police still don’t know if McArthur had a relationship of any kind with Esen.

He declined to specify how McArthur had met the two men.

Family, friends find closure

Andrew Kinsman’s sister Patricia told CBC Toronto that police called her just a few hours before Thursday’s news conference to tell her that they believed they had found her brother’s killer.

“All I could keep saying was ‘oh my God, oh my God and thank you, you’ve done your job,'” she said.

Kinsman said that her family had slowly come to grips with the thought that Andrew had died in the months since he disappeared.

“Even on Dec. 9, my sister Karen and I were still searching … just at that point we knew we were looking for a body. But you always have that .5 per cent hope that he’s going to come back,” she said.

She said she was still in shock from the news, but hopes that “this will give us a little bit of closure.”

Nicole Borthwick, a friend of Kinsman’s who volunteered with him at a food bank and later helped organize searches for him, said her initial reaction was to be “very relieved” but that “complete closure” won’t come until his body is found.

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Bruce McArthur charged with 1st-degree murders of 2 men who disappeared from Toronto’s Gay Village

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