Remains of at least 6 people found in potted plants in Canadian serial killer probe

Published: Thursday, February 08, 2018 @ 6:04 PM

Canadian Serial Killer Probe Leads To Remains Of At Least Six People

The dismembered remains of at least 6 people have been found stuffed in flower planters outside a Toronto home where a suspected serial killer accused of targeting gay men stored his landscaping equipment.

Bruce McArthur, 66, of Toronto, is thus far charged with only five counts of first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of five missing men, according to the Toronto Police Service. Investigators believe, however, that there may be many more victims hidden in landscaping projects the self-employed McArthur did for clients throughout Toronto.  

“I do anticipate more charges being laid,” Toronto police Detective Sgt. Hank Idsinga told CBC Toronto Thursday. Idsinga is the lead investigator on the case, which he described as “unprecedented.” 

A man was found alive and tied to McArthur’s bed in his Thorncliffe Park apartment at the time of his Jan. 18 arrest, CP24 in Toronto reported. Police officers who had McArthur under surveillance in the disappearances of multiple men saw the man go into his apartment with him and, believing him to be in danger, forced their way inside. 

The man was uninjured when he was found, the news station reported

So far, the remains of just one man, Andrew Kinsman, have been positively identified, CBC Toronto reported Thursday. Kinsman, 49, had a sexual relationship with McArthur, police officials said at the time of McArthur’s arrest

McArthur is also accused of killing Majeed Kayhan, 58, Selim Esen, 44, Soroush Mahmudi, 50, and Dean Lisowick, 47. 

Esen was reported missing in April 2017 and Marmudi was reported missing in August 2015, police officials said. Lisowick was never reported missing, but investigators believe he was killed between May 2016 and July 2017. 

Kayhan, who has been missing since October 2012, was one of three men who went missing from Toronto’s Church-Wellesley Village area, a predominantly gay downtown neighborhood that is also known as Gay Village. Toronto police investigators in 2012 established Project Houston, a task force that sought to solve their disappearances, but it was disbanded after 18 months, the Toronto Star reported

Toronto landscaper Bruce McArthur is accused of killing, from left to right; Selim Essen, 44, Sorush Mahmudi, 50, Dean Lisowick, Andrew Kinsman, 49, and Majeed Kayhan, 58. Police say the 66-year-old McArthur killed at least five men over the span of nearly a decade, but detectives believe there may be many more victims.((Toronto Police Service via AP))

McArthur’s arrest came as the result of another task force called Project Prism, according to police. 

The Star reported that the other two men who vanished from Gay Village, Skandaraj Navaratnam, 40, and Abdulbasir Faizi, have not been listed as victims of McArthur. Navaratnam, who has been missing since September 2010, has been connected to the alleged serial killer, however, and Faizi’s abandoned car was found a short distance from McArthur’s home. 

Faizi vanished three months after Navaratnam disappeared. 

Members of Toronto’s gay community have taken issue with news stories in which acquaintances of McArthur’s described him as a “jovial” fixture of the Gay Village community.

“The depictions of this man as a ‘jovial’ ‘grandfather’ who dressed up as Santa but had this ‘penchant’ for serial killing is gross,” a post on Toronto Pride’s Facebook page stated. “Where’s his mugshot in these articles? Seemingly, this media rule only applies to indigenous, street-involved and black people.”

McArthur did not live at the home on Mallory Crescent where the human remains have been found. Owners Karen Fraser and her husband allowed McArthur to store his equipment at their home in exchange for mowing and general upkeep of their lawn, Fraser told CBC Radio’s “As It Happens” program

Fraser said that police showed up at their home the morning of McArthur’s arrest with a search warrant and gave them 20 minutes to leave the property.

“I was so horrified,” Fraser said, according to CBC Toronto. “Every aspect was more horrifying and I just … it was really hard to take.”

Fraser said that, along with his equipment, McArthur stored planters at their home, including two large, heavy ones in the backyard. Those planters, where police apparently found body parts of three of the victims, were there for two years, she said. 

“They would come and go,” Fraser said of McArthur’s planters. “If they were going to stay long enough, he often put some plants in for us. And then, when a client wanted them, off they would go.”

Investigators using dogs and ground-penetrating radar found areas in the home’s yard where dirt had been disturbed. Idsinga told CBC reporters that law enforcement was using heaters to warm the frozen ground.

“There’s a tent out back. It’s a very large tent,” Idsinga said. “We have some heaters there and we are thawing the ground there.”

A police forensics tent sits in the backyard of a house on Mallory Crescent in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018. Police found human remains of at least six people while investigating the case against landscaper and suspected serial killer Bruce McArthur.((Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP))

Excavation of the area was anticipated to begin late last week. It was unclear when the Frasers, who are staying with friends, would be allowed back into their home. 

Meanwhile, investigators continued searching more than 30 other properties on which McArthur may have done landscaping work in the Toronto area. 

Idsinga said the planters where the remains were found were among more than a dozen planters removed from multiple locations after police dogs detected the possible presence of human decomposition. Officials anticipate that it could take months to identify all the remains found. 

The detective refuted rumors that McArthur was suspected of cannibalizing his alleged victims.

“There’s no truth to that at all,” Idsinga told CBC Toronto in an email

CBC Toronto confirmed that detectives have interviewed at least three other men who dated McArthur, but stopped because they were not comfortable with some of the sex acts he wanted them to participate in. 

>> Read more trending news

Fraser told “As It Happens” that she was shocked when McArthur, who she’s known for nearly 10 years, was arrested. She described him as a kind and helpful man who often helped with the charity work she and her husband did. 

She said sleep has been elusive as she has thought about the missing men, many of whom were immigrants to Canada. 

“I picture these men, glad to be making friends,” Fraser said. “They found a community. They really think that their new life is going to be maybe more than they ever dreamed possible, and then that someone took advantage.

“The terror, the horror. That’s what I have real trouble with.”

The Metropolitan Community Church in Toronto held a candlelight vigil Sunday night for the five men McArthur has been charged with killing. Rev. Sandra Morris lit a candle for each man, but also lit a sixth candle, CP24 reported

The sixth candle was a reminder of victims not yet found or identified.

“We also remember that there are others still missing and there may be more victims before this nightmare ends,” Morris said

Toronto Mayor John Tory, who attended the vigil, said he hoped the service could begin the long healing process.

“These horrific crimes have shocked and shaken the Church and Wellesley community and all of Toronto,” Tory wrote on Twitter. He also shared photos from the vigil.

Rev. Jeff Rock, the church’s senior pastor, said the regular Sunday service was cancelled so the community could come together to mourn the victims.

“(There are) a lot of unsettled feelings in people’s hearts, and still a lot of unanswered questions,” Rock told the news agency. “We open up our doors and invite not only the LGBTQ community, but the wider community, recognizing that the entire city of Toronto and the country … are realizing the horrors as the news comes out day by day.”

As the excavation of the Frasers’ Mallory Crescent property gets underway, police investigators are combing through McArthur’s cellphone and computer and any other electronic devices that could offer clues about how he sought out his alleged victims. CBC Toronto reported that the suspected killer’s Facebook profile, which has been disabled, detailed his nights out, parties, vacations and more. 

Several younger men, many of whom appeared Middle Eastern or South Asian -- like some of McArthur’s alleged victims -- showed up in his photos, the news agency reported. He also had profiles on multiple dating sites, including manjam and silverdaddies. 

His user name was often a variation of the nickname “silver fox.”

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66 dead in Iran plane crash, airline says

Published: Sunday, February 18, 2018 @ 3:56 AM



Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
(Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

A commercial aircraft carrying 66 people crashed in Iran, killing everyone on board, an airline spokesman told state media. 

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WATCH: Florida school shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez slams politicians, NRA in emotional speech

Published: Sunday, February 18, 2018 @ 3:43 AM
Updated: Sunday, February 18, 2018 @ 3:43 AM

The Worst School Shootings in US History

A survivor of Wednesday's deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida, slammed President Donald Trump, lawmakers and the National Rifle Association in a scathing speech Saturday at an anti-gun rally in Fort Lauderdale.

>> Click here to watch

>> PHOTOS: Remembering Parkland Florida school shooting victims

"Every single person up here today, all these people should be home grieving," said Emma Gonzalez, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. "But instead, we are up here standing together because if all our government and president can do is send thoughts and prayers, then it's time for victims to be the change that we need to see. Since the time of the founding fathers and since they added the Second Amendment to the Constitution, our guns have developed at a rate that leaves me dizzy. The guns have changed, but our laws have not."

>> Florida school shooting heroes: 3 coaches, teachers gave lives for students

Gonzalez called out one of Trump's tweets following the shooting that left 17 people dead.

>> See the tweet here

"So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!" Trump wrote Thursday morning.

>> Florida school shooting: How difficult is it to purchase a gun in Florida?

Gonzalez said Saturday: "We did, time and time again. Since he was in middle school, it was no surprise to anyone who knew him to hear that he was the shooter. Those talking about how we should have not ostracized him, you didn't know this kid, OK? We did. We know that they are claiming mental health issues, and I am not a psychologist, but we need to pay attention to the fact that this was not just a mental health issue. He would not have harmed that many students with a knife."

>> Who is Nikolas Cruz, accused gunman in Florida high school attack?

She added: "If the president wants to come up to me and tell me to my face that it was a terrible tragedy and how it should never have happened and maintain telling us how nothing is going to be done about it, I'm going to happily ask him how much money he received from the National Rifle Association."

>> Florida high school shooting suspect flagged as threat before tragedy

She went on to criticize him and other lawmakers.

"To every politician who is taking donations from the NRA, shame on you!" she said, prompting the crowd to chant, "Shame on you" in response.

>> Read more trending news 

"Politicians who sit in their gilded House and Senate seats funded by the NRA telling us nothing could have been done to prevent this, we call BS,” Gonzalez said. “They say tougher gun laws do not decrease gun violence. We call BS. They say a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun. We call BS. They say guns are just tools like knives and are as dangerous as cars. We call BS. They say no laws could have prevented the hundreds of senseless tragedies that have occurred. We call BS. That us kids don't know what we're talking about, that we're too young to understand how the government works. We call BS."

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Florida sheriff to politicians who don't support gun control: 'You will not get re-elected'

Published: Sunday, February 18, 2018 @ 3:39 AM

WATCH: Florida Teacher Speaks Out About High School Shooting

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel blasted politicians after a gunman killed 17 people at a Parkland, Florida, high school, saying that if gun laws don’t change, “you will not get re-elected in Broward County.”

>> WATCH: Florida school shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez slams politicians, NRA in emotional speech

According to the Huffington Post, while speaking at a vigil in Parkland for the victims of the shooting, Israel said, “If you’re an elected official, and you want to keep things the way they are ― if you want to keep gun laws as they are now ― you will not get re-elected in Broward County.”

>> Click here to watch

The vigil was attended by thousands at an amphitheater that was lit by candles and had 17 4-foot angels – one for each of the victims who was killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

>> On Rare.us: 'Thoughts and prayers' check raises eyebrows on social media after the Florida shooting

Last week, Israel called on lawmakers to allow law enforcement officers to involuntarily detain people who post questionable and disturbing content on social media.

“We need to have the power to take that person and bring them before mental health professionals at that particular time, involuntarily, and have them examined,” he saidthe Huffington Post reported. “People are going to be rightfully concerned about their rights ― as am I. But what about these students? What about the rights of young kids who go to schools?”

>> PHOTOS: Remembering Parkland, Florida, school shooting victims

He added that he wishes law enforcement officials could act “if they see something on social media, if they see graphic pictures of rifles and blood and gore and guns and bombs, if they see something, horrific language, if they see a person talking about ‘I want to grow up to be a serial killer.’”

Democrats in Congress are already calling for gun control while Republicans are saying that it’s too soon to talk about it.

>> Classmate of Nikolas Cruz: ‘No one has ever been a friend to him’

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said during a press conference Thursday that we need to think less about fighting “each other politically” in the wake of the shooting.

“This is one of those moments where we just need to step back and count our blessings,” he said Thursday at a news conference, according to CNN. “We need to think less about taking sides and fighting each other politically, and just pulling together. This House, and the whole country, stands with the Parkland community.”

>> Florida school shooting timeline: Seven minutes, three floors and 17 dead

Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., tweeted that Congress should vote on measures to implement “universal background checks, a ban on military-style weapons and a prohibition of those on the terror watchlist from purchasing firearms.”

>> Read more trending news 

Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat, said Congress will have “another round” of this debate, but admitted that it’s hard to get any sort of gun legislation passed.

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Police: Mother accused of giving child hydrochloric acid, chlorine as autism 'cure'

Published: Saturday, February 17, 2018 @ 1:55 PM

File image of a liquid dispenser bottle.
Pixabay
File image of a liquid dispenser bottle.(Pixabay)

An Indianapolis mother is accused of feeding her child a dangerous homemade concoction in an attempt to "cure" the child's autism, police said.

The woman's husband claims his wife placed drops of hydrochloric acid and a water purifying solution that contained chlorine into their child's beverage, FOX59 reported. The woman reportedly referred to the mixture as the "miracle mineral solution" and said she found the recipe on a Facebook group page. The husband told police that his wife had fed their child the toxic mixture a few weeks ago, but he only found out about it last weekend.

>> Read more trending news 

The “miracle mineral solution” has been reviewed by the FDA, which warned that it is essentially bleach, FOX59 reported. The mixture is often promoted as being a cure-all for everything from cancer to autism.

The Indianapolis Police Department told FOX59 that the Department of Child Services is reviewing the case and has removed the child from the home. Police declined to release the names of the parents or any of the child's identifying information. The investigation remains active.

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