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Man Charged in Five Murders Reportedly Targeted Toronto's Gay Community

Bruce McArthur
Bruce McArthur

Police describe Bruce McArthur as a serial killer and say more charges may be brought against him.

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A suspect who appears to have targeted Toronto's gay population has been charged with the murders of five men, most of whom had been missing for some time.

Bruce McArthur, a 66-year-old Toronto landscaper, was charged Monday with first-degree murder in the deaths of Majeed Kayhan, Soroush Marmudi, and Dean Lisowick, The Globe and Mail reports. He was charged January 18 with the murders of Andrew Kinsman and Selim Esen. There could be more charges to come, as police said McArthur had links to other missing persons.

"Detectives believe Mr. McArthur was targeting members of Toronto's LGBTQ community, but expect that the investigation may go beyond just that one community," the paper reports. Dismembered skeletal remains of three people have been discovered in planters at sites where McArthur had done landscaping, but police have yet to identify them. "We don't know how many more victims there are going to be," Det. Sgt. Hank Idsinga said at a press conference Monday. Police did not offer details on how the victims were killed.

One of them, Kayhan, had been missing since 2012. He was well-known in the Gay Village, Toronto's main LGBT neighborhood, The Globe and Mail reports. One friend of his told the paper Kayhan may have been in a romantic relationship with McArthur at one point.

In 2003, McArthur was convicted of assault after attacking a man with an iron pipe two years earlier, according to the newspaper. The victim lived in the same apartment complex as Kayhan, and McArthur was ordered to stay away from the building for two years.

Mahmudi was last seen in 2015. Lisowick "had no fixed address, and had not been reported missing," the paper reports, but police said he had likely been murdered between May 2016 and July 2017. Kinsman and Esen both went missing last year.

McArthur was a user of the dating app Recon, going by the screen name Silverfox and seeking "submissive men of all ages," according to an earlier Globe and Mail story. One man, Peter Sgromo, told the paper he had hooked up with McArthur via the app, but McArthur treated him violently, grabbing him roughly by the neck and pulling his head down to McArthur's crotch.

"I wasn't weirded out enough at that point to suspect that I was in any danger," Sgromo said. "It certainly killed the mood for me. I was kind of surprised."

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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.