Det-Sg.t Hank Idsinga

Sixth murder charge laid for Bruce McArthur in killings of Toronto gay men

Remains of Andrew Kinsman, Skandaraj Navaratnam, Soroush Mahmudi now confirmed found

Det.-Sgt. Hank Idsinga confirmed Friday that alleged Toronto serial killer Bruce McArthur has been charged with yet another first-degree murder. At a news conference at police headquarters Friday, the investigating officer told reporters the latest charge comes in connection with the disappearance of Skandaraj ‘Skanda’ Navaratnam, 40.

Idsinga said they laid the charge after identifying the human remains of Navaratnam and also of Soroush Mahmudi, buried in garden planters that were seized from the backyard of a residence on 53 Mallory Cres in January.

When asked how the two latest victims were identified, Idsinga said they used dental records.

“There are several ways in identifying remains in a case such as this including fingerprints, dental records and DNA analysis,” he said. 

Earlier this month, police identified Andrew Kinsman in the human remains, using fingerprints.

Navaratnam, 40, went missing in the Church and Wellesley area after leaving Zipperz, a bar in the gay village in 2010.

His friend, Kevin Nash, told CBC News that Navaratnam and landscaper Bruce McArthur were dating before the disappearance, but Idsigna did not confirm these claims.

“Skanda Navaratnam was one of the three males who were the focus of Project Houston,” Idsinga said, referring to a police task force initiated in 2012 after Navaratnam and two others, Abdulbasir Faizi, 42, and Majeed Kayhan, 59,  vanished.

Mahmudi was last seen in Scarborough, and reported missing by his family in August 2015. Idsinga would not comment on the relationship between Mahmudi and the suspect.

Meanwhile, police are currently investigating what they believe is a murder scene in McArthur’s apartment on the 19th floor of his building at 95 Thorncliffe Park Dr.

“We’ve been there for over a month and I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re there for another month,” Idsinga said in reference to the Thorncliffe investigation.

Idsinga said while they wait on results from DNA analysis, police may return to 53 Mallory Cres. when weather conditions improve to use cadaver dogs, but more sites will be visited.

“We have one property where we may do excavation… we are very interested in at least two or three other properties in the GTA,” Idsinga said.

Though police expect to find more victims beyond the human remains in the planters, they say the entire investigation process could “go in to the years.”

The case has evolved with police now looking at “hundreds of outstanding missing persons occurrences” and even “occurrences where there’s been a sudden death.”

McArthur was arrested on Jan. 18, and has made two court appearances to date, via videolink. His next one is scheduled for Feb 28.