April 5, 2020
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  • 4:52 pm @TorontoPolice News Conference Re: Homicide #54/2016 Jarryl Hagley, 17 | Fri Oct 21st, 1pm

Police Constable Jenifferjiit Sidhu: Good morning and welcome to Toronto Police Headquarters. Today we have Homicide Detective Sergeant Hank Idsinga who will provide media and update into the Bruce McAurthur investigation. Det/Sgt Idsinga: Good morning. Thank you for being here. As you know on January the 18th, Bruce McArthur was arrested. He has been charged with seven counts of first degree murder in relation to the deaths of Salim Esen, Andrew Kinsman, Soroush Mahmudi, Dean Lisowick, Majeed Kayhan, Skandaraj Navaratnam, and Abdulbasir Faizit. One of the focuses of the investigation has been on human remains found within planters from Mallory Crescent. I have previously stated that the remains of at least 7 individuals have been located within these planters. The remains of Andrew Kinsman, Soroush Mahmudi, Skandaraj Navaratnam, Selim Esen, Dean Lisowick and Abdulbasir Faizit had previously been identified. One set of remains had been unidentified. I can now report that the remains have been identified as Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam. Mr. Kanagaratnam arrived in Canada in 2010 from Sri Lanka and lived in the Scarborough area of Toronto. He was not on file as missing and we have no prior evidence which would link him to the gay village. We believe that Mr. Kanagaratnam was murdered between the time period of September 3rd to December 14th 2015. Mr. Kanagaratnam was born in 1978 and would have been 37 years old at the time of his murder. Mr. Kanagaratnam is the male depicted in the previously released John Doe photograph. The identification was confirmed with assistance from an international government agency. Today Mr. McArthur was brought back before the courts. He was charged with first-degree murder in relation to Mr. Kanagaratnam. Bruce McArthur is now charged with and alleged to have committed eight murders. I really want to take the time today to acknowledge the work of the officers on Project Prism. We knew that eventually they would get the job done and would identify this 8th victim. The stress and anxiety over dealing with hundreds of tips, hundreds of missing person
occurrences, and dozens of potential identifications for the eighth victim has been enormous. While we are saddened, we are also tremendously proud and relieved, to have been able to bring closure to the friends and family of Mr. Kanagaratnam and the seven other victims. I want to thank those who have come forward with their tips. If anyone has not heard from us or they have information related to Mr. MacArthur, please call us at the Homicide Squad, or anonymously through Crimestoppers.
Reporter: Det/Sgt Idsinga, when you say you were able to identify him with the help of an international agency, can you elaborate? Det/Sgt Idsinga: I can’t. I’m not going to say which mechanism we’ve utilized. I have stated in the past that’s we’ve used fingerprints DNA and dental records to identify these victims. And that’s as specific as I can get. Reporter: You said that he wasn’t reported missing, but you’re happy to bring closure to his family. Can you comment on what his family’s reaction was to this? Like were they wondering why he lost contact over the years? Was, like what had they been feeling over the years and what was their reaction to this news? Det/Sgt Idsinga: We’re still dealing with the family and getting as much information as we can from them. The family, direct family is not in Canada, and we’ve had to utilize a Tamil speaking officer to get some information. We’re still working on that so we’re getting more and more into the background of how long he’s been missing and what their reaction was to that. Reporter: Where did those photos come from? Det/Sgt Idsinga: Sorry? Reporter: Where did the photo come from? Det/Sgt Idsinga: Again I’ve said before I’m not going to specify exactly where that photograph came from. Reporter: do you have the dates from 2015 Det/Sgt Idsinga: Sorry hang one sec… Reporter: Where is he from? Det/Sgt Idsinga: He’s from Sri Lanka. Reporter: How long was he in Toronto? Reporter: On the information today, you also mentioned that there’s a period in which you believe he was murdered. How did you come to that period? Det/Sgt Idsinga: I can’t speak to that. There’s some records that we have which have helped us narrow that time period down but I can’t get specific about what those records are. Reporter: Was he one of the twenty-two tips or was this an additional tip? Det/Sgt Idsinga: He was not one of the twenty-two tips, no! Reporter: Inaudible Det/Sgt Idsinga: They did. Reporter: Detective, can you tell us about the victim’s history in Canada. Was he a resident, or visiting, how long had he been here? Det/Sgt Idsinga: I’m not going to speak specifically to his status in Canada. I will say that he came to Canada from Sri Lanka in 2010. Reporter: Ok you said that he not’s one of the twenty-two tips but last week you were talking about being cautiously optimistic about on of those 22. This is not that one then? Det/Sgt Idsinga: Correct Reporter: Can you just tell us what happened between the time of your news conference which is last what Tuesday or Wednesday and then Thursday when you identified him did something happen very quickly at that point because I thought it took a while to get the DNA confirmation anyway. Det/Sgt Idsinga: Again I’m not gonna speak specifically about what mechanism we utilize to identify Mr. Kanagaratnam, but I will say it was just some very diligent good police work by some of the office officers assigned to Prism, doing some follow-up and they managed to come through with this identification. Reporter: Was he on you radar before last Wednesday? Det/Sgt Idsinga: No. Reporter: Has he been reported missing by anyone either in 2010 or either in the you know last year or so? Never been reported missing at all? Det/Sgt Idsinga: He was not on file in Canada as missing and I’m gonna leave it at that. We’re still following up on specifics. Reporter: Inaudible …wasn’t or hasn’t been at this point connected to the gay village. What does that , what does that say to you? Det/Sgt Idsinga: I don’t know yet. He doesn’t quite fit the profile that we’ve seen before. Even with Mr. Lisowick, we didn’t have any direct connection right off the bat but eventually we did find a connection whether that comes true with Mr. Kanagaratnam or not I just don’t know yet. Reporter: Inaudible Det/Sgt Idsinga: Not really no. Reporter: Was he a refugee here that may have had his application denied? Det/Sgt Idsinga: Again I’m not gonna comment on his immigration status here. Reporter: When do you believe that he came in contact with Bruce McArthur? Det/Sgt Idsinga: We don’t know. Reporter: Did he have any family here? Det/Sgt Idsinga: He had some ahhh, not direct family, but some distant family. Reporter: Like cousins, that sort of thing? Det/Sgt Idsinga: Yes Reporter:In the GTA? Det/Sgt Idsinga: In the GTA, yes. Reporter: Did he have an ongoing dating profile at all that you’re aware of? Det/Sgt Idsinga: Not that I’m aware of, no. Reporter: Were you able to get some help from that family, in the GTA? Like that can help you with a DNA profile right? Det/Sgt Idsinga: It could. I wouldn’t want to rely on a on a distant cousin for a DNA profile, but that could potentially help us. Reporter: Det/Sgt, do you believe this victim and any others were stabbed to death or do you believe they were choked to death? We asked this only because someone that may have known this individual believes the family has been told he has been stabbed to death, and is that important in the investigation as far as past cases for MOs? Det/Sgt Idsinga: I don’t have that information I don’t know where the family would have come into possession of that information. Reporter: Other than telling us he’s 37 and he’s from Scarborough in moved here in 2010, what else can you tell us about the victim? Det/Sgt Idsinga: That’s about all I can tell you about him right now. We’ve just identified him. Very recently we spent the weekend contacting family. We’re working on more background, but that’s all that we have right now. Reporter: Was he in the shelter system at all? Det/Sgt Idsinga: Not that we know of yet. Reporter: What does that mean for your investigation that you know you’ve got members of the LGBTQ community involved in this you have people that frequently inaudible involved? And now a completely different individual. How much larger of a net now has your investigation led to? and possible…inaudible Det/Sgt Idsinga: Well we’re still working through any outstanding missing persons occurrence in Toronto. We’re still working through quite a few cold cases, murder cases from Toronto but obviously you’re right this this does create basically a wide open net and we’ve had lots of calls international calls since our pleas began for people who just haven’t seen family members in years and I’ll reiterate if you have any information whatsoever that can help us out and somewhere that you’d like us to look then give us a call and let us know about that. We can’t have the information if people don’t provide it to us. Reporter: You said last week that you had at least the remains of seven people pulled from the planters. Are you, do you still think that you might have the remains of more people Or do you think that you’ve identified all the remains now? Det/Sgt Idsinga: I don’t know yet. As I’ve stated before these remains are dismembered, actually putting these remains together and and definitively linking one part of the remains to another is still a work in progress. Reporter: So, is it puzzling to you that this last victim you’ve identified, doesn’t fit the profile of the others that all had this connection to the village even if some of them were leading a double life, at least we knew they had contact with McArthur through perhaps a gay app? Det/Sgt Idsinga: Well it’s like I said, it’s definitely something that we’re still looking at to see if we can make that connection. I don’t know if we ever will, but the fact of the matter is that we do have his remains positively identified in the same planters as all the other victims so. Reporter: Is this consistent Detective Sergeant with you know there was a theory put out there and I apologize if it wasn’t to you but someone that he would McArthur would allegedly look for people who would be less reported missing perhaps less quickly or had less ties to the community. Perhaps victims who would be more isolated? Det/Sgt Idsinga: That’s a possibility I think there’s enough information out there on the backgrounds of most of these individuals so people couldn’t draw their own conclusions on that so whether it ever becomes an issue in court or not, I don’t know. Reporter: You mentioned second burial site of some kind Is that correct, you’ve identified all seven remains, seven remains in the planters that is one person who’s remains is not there. Do you think there is a second location? Det/Sgt Idsinga: Well I don’t know if the remains of that one person are there or not. We’re looking at more locations, we’ve got a lot of searches still to do. I stated last week as the weather gets warmer we are going to search more locations and whether we find anything else or not I just don’t know yet. Reporter: Detective in previous conferences, you’ve talked about having to go further and further back in older and older cases. Can you just go back a little bit in terms of how far back were you looking and what kind of cold cases and missing persons and time lines? Det/Sgt Idsinga: All I said last week that were we’re looking at a series of cold cases from the 1970s. I believe the earliest one is 1975. There was a gentleman here last week who brought up some cases from the 60 from 1967 and 1968 we’re not looking at those ones. We’re aware of them but we’re not looking at them. So right now the furthest back we’re going to is 1975. Reporter: What does your gut tell you Det/Sgt? Do you think there are going to be more victims? Det/Sgt Idsinga: Well that’s a that’s a great question. I think we’ve all seen in the media so-called experts who tell us that serial killers don’t start in their late 50s and their 60s but then again some of the, if we listen to these experts we’d be looking for a brown-skinned 35 year old male, and that simply isn’t the case obviously. So harking back to what we said in 2013 and in late 2017 right now I have no evidence that would link Mr. McArthur to any murder earlier than Skandaraj Navaratnam’s murder. Reporter: Do you think at some point, you’ll have to stop, at some point you have enough? I mean, or are you giving yourselves as investigators a time frame, as you said at the end of summer, early fall? At some point this has to go to trial. Det/Sgt Idsinga: This is, the court process is underway. I’ve always felt that if we could get these remains identified and lay the charges relevant to those remains that’s a very good starting point and we’ll let the Crown’s proceed with that and if we start making links to historic cases and can establish reasonable and probable grounds on some historic cases we’ll probably keep that separate I’ll leave that decision up to the crown attorneys but obviously there’s a process that’s underway and has to remain underway and this set of evidence fits very nicely into that ongoing process so. Reporter: Was it separated into chunks. Do you think this enough to get the court case going and then add charges as you go? Det/Sgt Idsinga: This definitely enough to get a court case going and whether I add further charges or not down the road depends on the circumstances of the other cases. If we discover we in fact have more than seven remains and maybe have eight remains within those planters and identify a ninth victim then we may lay that charge but if we start making links to the1970s like I said we’ll probably keep that separate. Reporter: What is it about those 70s charges, 70s cases that makes you think they’re related? Det/Sgt Idsinga: We have no evidence yet to think that they are related. We just… Reporter: Well why not say just that anything before that is our reason the cutoff only goes back to 75? Det/Sgt Idsinga: There’s nothing in particular that makes that cutoff except for Mr. McArthur’s age and his whereabouts. Reporter: What are the odds, in your opinion what are the odds you’re going to find something in the house as in the public spaces that you’re going to investigate What are the odds as an experienced investigator, do you think you’re gonna find something? Det/Sgt Idsinga: I don’t know. Reporter: How distressing is it to you you’ve got yet another man who was never missing. This is the second of the alleged victims who just went undetected for all these years. Nobody even called the police how does that make you feel as an investigator? Det/Sgt Idsinga: Well it’s very concerning and obviously there’s a there’s a breakdown somewhere between international lines and that’s something we’re gonna look out over the next few days. This is exactly what happened and why he wasn’t on file was as missing here in Toronto. Sorry? Reporter: Was he missing in Sri Lanka, back in his home country? Det/Sgt Idsinga: Not that I know of. No. Reporter: What was the breakdown? I don’t understand. Det/Sgt Idsinga: Sorry? Reporter: Then what’s the breakdown of communication? Det/Sgt Idsinga: Between family if they want, in Sri Lanka, who perhaps wants to report somebody missing in
Toronto and how can we facilitate that if it wasn’t facilitated? I, we just don’t
know yet, we’re still working. Reporter: He was living here from 2010 on, so maybe they weren’t in touch with him? Were they aware he was missing? Det/Sgt Idsinga: Again we’re still working on all that background. Reporter: Did they try to report him? Do you have any idea if they… Det/Sgt Idsinga: That I don’t know yet, Justin. Reporter: Was it a direct result of releasing those photos that led you to identifying this man? Det/Sgt Idsinga: I think it definitely helped. Reporter: In cold cases with this,
with this revelation and find existence meaning perhaps we need to look at more cold cases, because he doesn’t fit the profile of previous victims, alleged victims? Det/Sgt Idsinga: We’re open to looking at anything, so. Reporter: Inaudible …so many of them didn’t get the investigation that a missing person case should get? Det/Sgt Idsinga: It very well may have. Police Constable Jenifferjiit Sidhu: Thank you, That concludes
today’s news conference. A news release will go out shortly. I believe the photograph and the name will be attached to that news release.

Robin Kshlerin