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Watch: Toronto man charged with murder in Church and Wellesley disappearances

Bruce McArthur, 66, faces two counts of first-degree murder in the disappearance of Selim Esen, 44, and Andrew Kinsman, 49. Police believe there are other victims.

Selim Esen, left, and Andrew Kinsman have been missing since last year.

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Selim Esen, left, and Andrew Kinsman have been missing since last year.

Update (January 18, 2:24 p.m.): A 66-year-old self-employed Toronto landscaper has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the disappearance of Andrew Kinsman and Selim Esen, who went missing near the Church and Wellesley neighbourhood over the last year.

Bruce McArthur, who lives in Thorncliffe Park, was arrested by officers at around 10:30 a.m. Thursday.

“We believe he is responsible for the deaths of Mr. Esen and Mr. Kinsman, and we believe he is responsible for the deaths of other men who have yet to be identified,” said Det. Hank Idsinga of Toronto’s homicide squad at a news conference Thursday.

“In other words, we believe there are other victims.”

Idsinga said investigators had been looking into McArthur’s involvement for several months, but evidence recovered Wednesday prompted McArthur’s arrest.

He did not give any specifics as to this evidence.

Neither Esen nor Kinsman’s body has been found, police said. Police have initiated search warrants at four Toronto properties and a fifth in Madoc, Ont., which are said to belong to McArthur.

“We’re conducting these search warrants in an effort to locate the bodies,” Idsinga said.

McArthur’s arrest came as a result of Project Prism — an investigation into the disappearance of Esen, 44, last April from near Bloor and Yonge Sts., and Andrew Kinsman, 49, from Parliament and Winchester Sts. in June.

“He did have a relationship with Mr. Kinsman for some time,” Idsinga said of McArthur, later specifying that it was sexual in nature. “We don’t know what his exact relationship with Mr. Esen was, leading up to the murder.”

Both disappearances prompted community-led search parties in both the Church-Wellesley Village and Cabbagetown.

Ted Healey, a friend of Kinsman, did not expect the announcement from police to come so quickly.

“I really did think that the police were stalled out on it, and it comes as a big surprise,” he said in a phone interivew after watching the news conference on TV.

“I had to stop watching,” he said, his voice cracking over the phone. “At the end of it, I’m happy. I’m angry. And I’m hopeful this is the start of the end of it, because I just wanted closure. I just want closure.”

Police are also searching five properties connected to McArthur — four in Toronto and one in Madoc, Idsinga said.

Police said in December that they’d met with members of the local community, and warned gay dating app users to be careful before meeting people found through those apps.

By October, investigators said they’d received over 150 leads and interviewed two dozen people, but were unable to find any link between the disappearances of both men.

The investigation also involved searching through information from Project Houston, an unconnected investigation looking into the disappearances of three other men from the same area, dating back to 2010.

McArthur is due to appear in court Friday morning at College Park.

With files from Vjosa Isai

Correction – January 18, 2018: This article was edited from a previous version that mistakenly referred to ‘properties belonging’ to Bruce McArthur.

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Update (January 18, 2:10 p.m.): A 66-year-old Toronto man has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the disappearance of Andrew Kinsman and Selim Esen, who went missing near the Church and Wellesley neighbourhood over the last year.

Bruce McArthur, a self-employed landscaper who lived in Thorncliffe Park, was arrested by officers mid-morning Thursday, Det. Hank Idsinga told reporters at a news conference.

‘We believe he is responsible for the deaths of Mr. Esen and Mr. Kinsman, and we believe he is responsible for the deaths of other men who have yet to be identified,” Idsinga said. “In other words, we believe there are other victims.”

Neither Esen nor Kinsman’s body has been found, police said.

The arrest came as a result of Project Prism — an investigation into the disappearance of Esen, 44, last April from near Bloor and Yonge Sts., and Andrew Kinsman, 49, from Parliament and Winchester Sts. in June.

Both disappearances prompted community-led search parties in both the Church-Wellesley Village and Cabbagetown.

Idsinga said investigators had been looking into McArthur’s involvement for several months, but evidence — which he did not specify — recovered Wednesday prompted McArthur’s arrest Thursday.

Police are also searching five properties belonging to McArthur — four in Toronto and one in Madoc, Idsinga said.

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Update (January 18, 1:49 p.m.): A 66-year-old Toronto man has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the disappearance of Andrew Kinsman and Selim Esen, two men who went missing near the Church and Wellesley neighbourhood over the last year.

Bruce McArthur, a landscaper, was arrested by officers mid-morning Thursday, Det. Hank Idsinga told reporters Thursday at a news conference.

Police said they believe there are more victims.

The arrests came at a result of Project Prism — an investigation into the disappearance of Esen, 44, last April from near Bloor St. and Yonge St., and Andrew Kinsman, 49, from Parliament St. and Winchester St. in June.

Both disappearances prompted community-led search parties in both the Church-Wellsley Village and Cabbagetown.

Police said in December that they’d met with members of the local community, and warned gay dating app users to be careful before meeting people found through those apps.

By October, investigators said they’d received over 150 leads and interviewed two dozen people, but were unable to find any link between the disappearances of both men.

The investigation also involved searching through information from Project Houston, an unconnected investigation looking into the disappearances of three other men from the same area, dating back to 2010.

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Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders will be announcing an arrest Thursday in relation to Project Prism, an investigation into two gay men who’ve gone missing from near the Church and Wellesley neighbourhood in the last year.

Saunders will be joined by members of the homicide squad.

A new conference has been scheduled for 1:15 p.m., at Toronto police headquarters on College St.

Project Prism came after the disappearance of 44-year-old Selim Esen last April, and 49-year-old Andrew Kinsman in June. Both disappearances prompted community-led search parties in both the Church-Wellsley Village and Cabbagetown.

By October, investigators said they’d received over 150 leads and interviewed two dozen people, but were unable to find any link between the disappearances of both men.

The investigation also involved searching through information from Project Houston, an unconnected investigation looking into the disappearances of three other men from the same area, dating back to 2010.

More to come

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