At an extraordinary press conference today, Toronto police showed a photograph of a deceased man they wish to identify in connection with the investigation of a series of killings for which Thorncliffe landscaper Bruce McArthur has been charged.
“I’ve never done this and I do it with great hesitation,” Det. Sgt. Hank Idsinga said of displaying the photo at the press conference. “But we do feel that by releasing it we can hopefully identify him.”
Idsinga also revealed police have recovered remains of at least seven individuals from planters at a Mallory Crescent property in Leaside. Previously they had detected only six separate sets of remains.
Six counts of first-degree murder have been laid against McArthur so far. It is alleged he is responsible for the deaths of Selim Esen, Andrew Kinsman, Majeed Kayhan, Dean Lisowick, Soroush Mahmoudi and Skandaraj Navaratnam.
But the charges are not necessarily linked to the recovered remains, Idsinga said, noting that in all but one case — that of Navaratnam — the charges were laid before identifications of any remains were made.
Remains of three victims have been identified, leaving four sets of unidentified remains, he said.
Idsinga would not comment of how police came in possession of the photo of the deceased man but said police did not know where the picture was taken.
“We believe this is a photo of a deceased person,” he said.
The photo has been shown to the community but no one has identified the subject, leading police to reluctantly take the unusual step of releasing it to the public. “We don’t know who this gentleman is, so I’m sure someone will recognize him,” Idsinga said.
Ontario’s chief forensic pathologist, Dr. Michael Pollanen, told the press conference, “This is a unique investigation in the history of our organization” in trying to identify the victims, finding the cause of death and determining “what happened to these people.”
Technical difficulties, having to do with the decomposition and incompleteness of the remains, as well as the volume of work, have made the work challenging, he said.
Identification of the remains is being carried out through DNA, fingerprints, dental records and medical records, Pollanen said.
Idsinga said he did not know whether more remains may be found or more charges may be laid against McArthur.
Police are waiting for warmer weather to revisit previously investigated sites, he said.
Anyone who can help identify the man in the photograph released today is asked to call investigators at 416-808-2021.
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