A haz-mat team descended Saturday on a third Toronto property associated with Bruce McArthur, the accused killer of two men who vanished from the Gay Village last spring.
Resident Stephen Haskett said he first noticed police in the neighbourhood Thursday, but didn’t realize at the time why they were there.
“It’s uncomfortable,” he said. “This is not something that I’ve ever experienced, and to know that it’s this close to home is just kind of creepy — just out of Stephen King.”
By Saturday, forensic investigators could be seen combing the two-car garage of the property in full force, removing several plastic crates and bins, along with a grey suitcase. A hacksaw was also removed.
Search spans 5 locations
Police believe McArthur is responsible for more deaths. Their search includes three other Toronto properties, as well as one in the small community of Madoc, Ont., a township about 220-kilometres east of Toronto
Real estate listings reveal the Horans sold the home last month, but the new owners have yet to take possession. The property is estimated to be worth more than $ 1 million.
McArthur himself lived in a highrise apartment in Toronto’s Thorncliffe neighbourhood. Several neighbours at both Scarborough and Madoc locations told CBC News he is a longtime friend of Brendan Horan’s brother, Roger, and both men worked as landscape gardeners.
‘He looks kind of familiar’
As for the Mallory home, Haskett told CBC News, McArthur didn’t live there, but came and went from the home often over the past eight years, especially during the summer months when he could be seen doing landscaping work for a couple who lived at the property. He’d frequently drop off or pick up gardening equipment, said Haskett, who added he last saw McArthur in the area about two weeks ago but never had a reason to pay much attention to him.
That, in part, is why it came as such a shock to see McArthur’s face plastered on the papers as an accused killer.
Reading the news this week, Haskett said, he looked at the pictures and thought, “He looks kind of familiar.”
It was only after he spoke to his neighbour that he realized he’d crossed paths with McArthur countless times during his years living in the neighbourhood.
On Thursday, police said McArthur had been active on several dating apps, as were both of the missing men. Homicide Det.-Sgt. Hank Idsinga also revealed that McArthur and Kinsman were involved in a sexual relationship for “some time.”
‘I get shivers’
He said police don’t know if McArthur had a relationship of any kind with Esen.
A Facebook profile associated with McArthur also lists him as friends with another man who went missing from the Village.
Skandaraj Navaratnam, 40, known online as Skanda Nava, is one of three other men who vanished between 2010 and 2012. After he disappeared in September 2010, Abdulbasir Faizi,44, vanished from a location just blocks away three months later. Then, in October 2012, Majeed Kayhan, 58, was reported missing as well, last seen in the Gay Village.
For months, Toronto’s LGBT community had expressed concerns that a serial killer might have been responsible for the disappearances, but police did not acknowledge it as a possibility until McArthur’s arrest.
In December, police Chief Mark Saunders said there was no proof that that was the case. On Thursday, Saunders explained those words were “accurate at that time.”
Meanwhile in the days since McArthur was arrested, neighbours at Brendan Horan’s rural home in Madoc said there has been a flurry of police activity at the 3.6-hectare property.
“Just to think about it, I get shivers,” said Joanne Irvine, who lives two doors down.
McArthur is set to be back in court Feb.14.