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Canada 'serial killer' linked to five deaths, targeted gay men

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Bruce McArthur (above), 66, was arrested earlier this month and charged Monday with three additional premeditated murders after human remains were found "hidden in the bottom of (large) planters" at a property that he used for storage, Toronto police's lead investigator Sergeant Hank Idsinga said.

[OTTAWA] A landscaper charged in the deaths of two Toronto gay men is a suspected serial killer, police said on Monday, as they linked him to three additional victims and scoured sites around Canada's largest city for more remains.

Bruce McArthur, 66, was arrested earlier this month and charged Monday with three additional premeditated murders after human remains were found "hidden in the bottom of (large) planters" at a property that he used for storage, Toronto police's lead investigator Sergeant Hank Idsinga said.

McArthur is an "alleged serial killer," he told a news conference, adding that authorities were searching some 30 properties in Toronto where McArthur worked.

Police are examining a dozen more planters from various locations across the city, and eyeing two properties for excavation "where people might be buried," Sgt Idsinga said.

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"We believe there are more remains at some of the properties that we're working to recover," he said.

"We believe there are more (victims) but I have no idea how many more there are going to be." DNA tests, meanwhile, are being performed on the dismembered skeletal remains found so far "and depending on the identification of the remains and further evidence that we uncover we'll lay more charges," Idsinga said.

McArthur was arrested mid-January following an investigation into the disappearances last April and June of two men from a predominantly gay neighborhood in downtown Toronto.

All of the victims were gay men in their 40s and 50s, several were of Middle Eastern descent and at least one was known to have had a sexual relationship with McArthur, authorities said.

All, except one, were reported missing by friends or family, and police are now reviewing missing persons reports dating back to at least 2010.

Sgt Idsinga said that while the initial charges related to the killings of gay men, the slayings do not all fit a clear pattern.

The investigation "certainly encompasses more than the gay community - it encompasses the city of Toronto," he said.

AFP

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