Police established 'link' between Bruce McArthur and 3 victims in 2013, documents show
Codi Wilson, CTV News Toronto
Published Thursday, February 21, 2019 8:26AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, February 21, 2019 1:02PM EST
Toronto police were able to establish a “link” between Bruce McArthur and three of his victims in 2013 when the serial killer was interviewed by officers involved in the ‘Project Houston’ investigation, court documents show.
New details of a Nov. 11, 2013 police interview with McArthur have emerged following the release of an unsealed judicial order.
The documents show that officers involved in Project Houston, an investigation probing the disappearances of 42-year-old Abdulbasir Faizi, 58-year-old Majeed Kayhan, and 40-year-old Skandaraj Navaratnam, were able to tie McArthur to all three of the missing men back in 2013.
McArthur was asked to speak to police as a witness in the investigation after officers found McArthur’s online username “silverfoxx51” in Navaratnam’s deleted email contacts as well as a notepad belonging to Faizi.
McArthur’s phone number was also found in Navaratnam’s email contacts.
During the video interview, McArthur was shown a photo of the three missing men. He confirmed that he knew Navaratnam through a mutual friend but said he did not recognize Faizi. He could not confirm his own whereabouts on the day of Navaratnam’s disappearance and said he only learned that Navaratnam was missing through missing person posters in the Church-Wellesley Village.
McArthur admitted to being involved in a sexual relationship with Kayhan for a period of time but said he could not remember the last time he saw him. He told investigators that he had known Kayhan for approximately 10 years and ended a sexual relationship with him because, according to McArthur, Kayhan was always asking McArthur to “buy him things.”
McArthur was not treated as a person of interest or a suspect in the Project Houston investigation, which was shut down in 2014 without any significant conclusions.
McArthur was convicted of assaulting a man with a metal pipe in 2001 but it is not clear if investigators in Project Houston conducted a background check on McArthur when they interviewed him in 2013.
McArthur was arrested in January 2018 after a new investigation, dubbed ‘Project Prism,’ was launched in August 2017. Officers in Project Prism were tasked with investigating the disappearances of 49-year-old Andrew Kinsman and 44-year-old Selim Esen.
Last month, McArthur, a 67-year-old former landscaper, pleaded guilty to eight counts of first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of eight men, including Navaratnam, Kayhan, Faizi, Esen, and Kinsman. McArthur was sentenced to life in prison and will be 91 years old before he is eligible to apply for parole.
Many members of the LGBTQ community have been critical of the Toronto Police Service’s handling of the McArthur case.
Police have been accused of ignoring members of the community when they voiced concerns about a serial killer targeting men in the city’s gay village.
Toronto police have subsequently launched a new missing persons unit and a third-party investigation is currently underway to look into the police service’s handling of a number of missing persons cases.