More than a dozen planters seized in serial killer case as police investigate tips from overseas
Investigators searching properties linked to accused serial killer Bruce McArthur have collected more than a dozen planters that have been singled out by cadaver dogs to date, police say.
Det. Sgt. Hank Idsinga told reporters on Wednesday that police have collected the planters from a number of different homes and have sent them away to be processed by forensic teams.
The news comes after a Monday news conference in which police confirmed that the dismembered remains of at least three individuals were found in two planters taken from a home on Mallory Crescent, where McArthur stored landscaping tools.
Those remains have not yet been identified; a process that Idsinga said could take months.
“We have over a dozen planters and we are not just grabbing every planter we see. If there is an indication from the canine units that there is some decomposition around that planter we will grab it,” Idsinga said on Wednesday. “We have been doing that essentially since Saturday, going to different locations. It is quite a time consuming process.”
Idsinga said that there are plans to excavate part of the lawn at the home on Mallory Crescent after ground-penetrating radar on loan from Ontario Provincial Police identified “some areas where the earth has been disturbed.”
The detective said that work will mostly have to be done by hand under the supervision of a forensic anthropologist and should begin later this week or early next week.
Meanwhile investigators are also searching the basement of the home on Mallory Crescent, though Idsinga said that the cadaver dogs did not smell anything that prompted the search.
Police also continue to investigate the “well over 30” locations where Mcarthur, a professional landscaper, was known to have worked, Idsinga said.
Most of those locations are in Toronto, though some of them are in communities east of the city.
“It is going to take a long time but we are well equipped to investigate it,” Idsinga said, noting that dozens of officers have been assigned to the case.
Tips coming in from around the world
McArthur has now been charged with five counts of first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of Andrew Kinsman, Salim Esen, Majeed Kayhan, Soroush Mahmudi, and Dean Lisowick.
Idsinga said that tips have come in from “around the world” since McArthur’s arrest.
Asked if those tips pertain to people who have come to Toronto from elsewhere and not returned or are in regards to potential homicides outside of Toronto, Idsinga said that “both situations would be something that we would be looking at.”
“Anyone with any information whatsoever on Mr. McArthur I’d ask them that they please contact us,” he said. “We have received dozens of tips, dozens of phone calls and emails from the public and I thank them very much for that."
Planter removed from property in Deer Park
Idsinga said McArthur could face additional charges.
As the investigation intensified, police are continuing to encourage any homeowners who hired McArthur for his landscaping services to reach out so their properties can be searched.
Earlier on Wednesday, Balmoral Avenue resident Vian Ewart said that multiple people along the street used McArthur's landscaping services. He said would often see McArthur tending to the properties in the spring and the fall.
On Sunday, Ewart said he saw police searching the area with the assistance of the K9 unit.
Police have confirmed that they removed a planter from a residence on the street.
“I’m sure everybody is fairly shocked,” Ewart said. “He seemed to be a nice man.”
Idsinga said that police will likely remain at the property on Mallory Crescent for at least a week-and-a-half. He said that officers will also be at McArthur’s Thorncliffe Park apartment for “quite some time” yet.