Toronto police are slated to release more details this morning on the mystery man in a photograph found on alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur’s computer.
The photo of the unidentified man, believed by homicide investigators to be the eighth victim of the 66-year-old landscaper, was released last month.
It was a rare move that the lead investigator, Det.-Sgt. Hank Idsinga, said was a “last resort” in hopes the public could identify the bearded man, who appeared to be middle age, to bring closure to his family and friends.
Since then, police said they have received some 500 tips that yielded more than 70 possible identities. Investigators worked to narrow this down to 22.
They identified the man on Thursday, but haven’t yet released the name.
Investigators are expected to release more details, including the identity of the man and potential further criminal charges, during a news conference at Toronto police headquarters today, starting at 10:30 a.m. ET.
It remains unclear where the man was from or how he was identified. But Idsinga confirmed last week the man may not be from Toronto, and said investigators had been following up with some international agencies in relation to the photo.
McArthur charged with 7 murder counts
McArthur has been charged with seven counts of first-degree murder in connection with the disappearances of seven men. Many of them were known to frequent Toronto’s Gay Village area.
They are: Selim Esen, 44, Abdulbasir Faizi, 44, Majeed Kayhan, 58, Andrew Kinsman, 49, Dean Lisowick, 47, Soroush Mahmudi, 50, and Skandaraj Navaratnam, 40. None of the charges against McArthur have been tested in court.
While Idsinga has an idea of how at least some of McArthur’s alleged victims were killed, he said investigators have been unable to definitively determine the cause of death in each case.
A police source previously told CBC Toronto the image of the dead man was among a cache of pictures of alleged victims found on McArthur’s computer. Idsinga has refused to confirm that information.
McArthur is being held at the Toronto South Detention Centre in Etobicoke, in suburban Toronto.
Since his mid-January arrest, the probe into his life has grown larger.
The number of properties to be searched more than doubled last week, jumping to 75 pieces of both public and private property. This includes McArthur’s own apartment in Toronto’s Thorncliffe Park neighbourhood and a number of homes where he did landscaping work.
Police at the time also announced they are now investigating 15 cold cases between 1975 and 1997 — a period when 14 gay men were killed in Toronto’s downtown after leaving bars popular in the LGBT community. Half of those cases remain unsolved.
There is no evidence to connect the cases to McArthur, but Idsinga has said he “wouldn’t be surprised” if he is linked to more killings.
“We really don’t know how deep this is going to go. We just don’t know yet,” Idsinga said previously.