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Landscape Worker Charged in Toronto Serial Murders
When I first heard this story I was astonished that something like this once again happened in Canada. A 66-year-old landscaping worker has been arrested for the murder of 5 men and police believe there may be many more victims. Police found remains of three unidentified persons in planters on the property suspect Bruce McArthur used to store his business tools. Police have now linked 30 other properties McArthur had access to through his landscaping business. We will probably learn in the coming weeks and months if there are more victims and more about those victims.
Link Between Serial Killers and Occupation
Experts indicate that there are well established links between serial killers and their occupations. Often those occupations are used to aid in finding victims or they may be used to aid in disposing of those victims. In this particular case it is believed that Bruce McArthur used other means to locate his victims, most likely online, and then used his job to dispose of the victims. No doubt it's going to be a grisly job for investigators who must go through all these properties with the prospect of finding more bodies.
Similarities to a Pig Farm in Penticton
There is already some comparison of these murders to those committed by Robert Pickton who had 27 first degree murder charges against him back in 2005. Robert Pickton was targeting sex trade workers and then using his pig farm to hide the bodies of his victims. Excavations were still being done on his property until November, 2003 and the investigation is estimated to have cost $70 million. Remains and DNA evidence indicate 33 women were found on the pig farm.
In the case of the recent murders in Toronto, Bruce McArthur hid his victims in planters that were in plain sight and this probably gave him a great sense of excitement and achievement. The amount of time it took police to find any victims probably made him think he had outsmart everyone. It was reported when police kicked in the door of his 19th story apartment to arrest him, there was a young man tied up on his bed and it was this young man's wellbeing that police were concerned about.
Missing Persons Prompt Investigation
Apparently, the victims in the Toronto case were men that were reported missing. Police began investigating when three men were reported missing from Toronto's Gay Village between 2010 and 2012. At the time police were reluctant to address concerns from the community that a potential serial killer may be linked to the missing men. If none of the remains found can be linked to the murders Bruce McArthur is now charged with, the number of murders may be raised to eight.
Missing Persons Not Suspicious
I find it somewhat concerning that police would have allowed so much time to elapse since learning of the missing men before starting to investigate the disappearances as a possible murder. Police should have been able to create some type of profile on the missing men and determined if the disappearances were outside of what could be deemed normal for those missing men. I'm sure they had friends and family that could have helped police build individual profiles. Sure, there are people who decide to run away at all ages and there may be those who want to not be found and start a new life. But there is the possibility that these missing men were quite happy with their lives and there was no reason for them to simply disappear. That it took several years for the first disappearance to turn into a murder investigation is somewhat troubling. No doubt we will hear the term hindsight used when describing the investigations, but when people go missing and there is no apparent reason for it, suspicion that they may have fallen victim to foul play should be the next direction police take in their investigation.
Much More Work Ahead
I don't envy the job that lies ahead for investigators on this latest case to break in Toronto. There are some news reports that indicate there are more men that have gone missing in Toronto, so the possibility of more victims seems to be apparent. Police must search numerous properties for the possibility of more victims and medical experts will need to identify the remains if more are found. Then there are the families of potential victims that must be notified. I can only imagine how hard this news must be for families that have missing loved ones that to date have not been found and what they are going through now that news of a serial killer has broken. Hopefully, there are no further victims found. The Crown is going to have a great deal of work in front of them as well on this matter and it may be years before this goes to court and the alleged killer is tried on the murder charges.