‘Nothing is the same,’ says owner of Leaside property where McArthur’s victims were found
Published Tuesday, January 29, 2019 6:23PM EST Last Updated Tuesday, January 29, 2019 7:36PM EST
Walking along her snow-covered Leaside property, Karen Fraser points out the eight trees planted by the City of Toronto in honour of the men murdered by serial killer Bruce McArthur.
Their remains were found by investigators in planters at Fraser’s Mallory Crescent home, where McArthur worked as a landscaper, and in a nearby ravine.
“The hardest part for me, besides what happened here, was that this valley had remained pretty much the same since I was a kid when I used to play there and now, of course, nothing is the same,” she said.
In a one-on-one interview CTV News Toronto, Fraser traced the areas of the property that was excavated by police in order to locate the remains of the men, who went missing between 2010 and 2017. She said the city planted the trees to prevent erosion in the ravine and to commemorate the loss of life.
“They chose trees that belong here. The major trees, there’s eight of them to represent the victims,” she said. “Anything that is poking up is new.”
In court on Tuesday, McArthur pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the deaths of the eight men. The Crown said investigators found some of the victims’ belongings in McArthur’s home, in addition to a duffel bag containing duct tape, a surgical glove, rope, zip ties, a bungee cord and syringes.
The prosecution also said that many of the victims were sexually assaulted.
Speaking outside the Superior Court of Justice on University Avenue earlier, Fraser said that she felt “violated” by what McArthur had done. She also said that the 67-year-old landscaper now seemed to be a different man than the one she knew.
“We call it ‘Bruce A’ and ‘Bruce B.’ ‘Bruce A’ was a man who seemed to have made decisions about his life and was very happy with it. He enjoyed his job. He enjoyed his clients,” she said.
“(He) never got bored with the plants. He was very talented at it. He was very fond of his children. He was a great grandfather. He was the best friend, neighbour, relative that anyone could want. That was ‘Bruce A.’ ‘Bruce B,’ who was that? I don’t know.”
Back at her home, Fraser said that she used to talk with McArthur when he would come over to work on her property.
“We would talk for five minutes and if he had time for tea I’d make it and bring it out and put it on the railing of the porch and he would have it as he went back and forth, and then he would be off,” she said.
She also said that she recognized two of the victims, saying that she met them on her property. Fraser said that McArthur used to travel a lot and she thought the men were visitors or workers with the landscaping business.
She would not specify which men visited the property with McArthur.
Despite everything, Fraser says she does not plan on moving, explaining that the history of the house “has been peaceful up until this.”
“The last thing we would allow is that person to drive us out.”
With files from CTV News Toronto's Tracy Tong