In an unusual move, lead investigators in the Bruce McArthur case have released a photograph of an unidentified deceased man.
During a news conference held at Toronto police headquarters Monday morning, Det.-Sgt. Hank Idsinga said he didn’t want to release the photo but was only doing so as a last resort to help police identify him and trace him to his family.
“We have utilized numerous investigative techniques to identify this individual and so far have been unsuccessful,” Idsinga told reporters. “We have also shown the picture to numerous contacts within the community and have been unsuccessful.”
Idsinga would not share information about the photo’s origin or how it came into police possession. He said the photo has been altered slightly to remove “artifacts.” Idsinga asks anyone who recognizes the individual in the picture to contact police immediately.
“We need to put a name to this face and bring closure to this man’s loved ones,” Idsinga said.
McArthur, 66, has been charged with six counts of murder, in connection with the deaths of six men who went missing beginning in 2010. Their remains were found at a Leaside home, buried in garden planters, which police seized from the property in January.
Idsinga also announced that police have now discovered a seventh set of remains in those planters: they did not realize this until recently, because the dismembered remains are all in various stages of decomposition.
The detective was joined Monday by Dr. Michael Pollanen, chief forensic pathologist for the Province of Ontario. Pollanen said this particular case has “challenged” the Ontario forensic pathology service.
“We have used a multidisciplinary approach to try and find the truth behind what has happened specifically,” he added.
Pollanen called the investigation “painstaking”, concluding it will take time.
McArthur was charged beginning Jan. 18, and more charges were laid on Feb. 23. Police accuse him in connection with the deaths of Selim Esen, Andrew Kinsman, Majeed Kayhan, Dean Lisowick, Soroush Mahmoudi and Skandaraj Navaratnam.
McArthur is in custody at the Toronto South Detention Centre in Etobicoke. His next court hearing is scheduled for March 14.
An LGBTQ community vigil was organized for the victims last month by “The 519”, a community centre in the gay village of Toronto.