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Toronto police make arrest in Church and Wellesley disappearances

18 January 2018

Toronto police have announced that a man has been arrested and charged with the first-degree murders of Andrew Kinsman and Selim Esen, who they presume to be dead.

Project Prism, which was formed August 14, is comprised of an officer from the homicide squad, an officer from the sex crimes unit and six members of 51 Division, three of whom were also members of Project Houston, an 18-month investigation that began in November 2012 focusing on the disappearances of three other men with ties to the Church and Wellesley area: Skandaraj "Skanda" Navaratnam, Abdulbasir "Basir" Faizi and Majeed "Hamid" Kayhan.

Idsinga added that at this point, police are busy trying to identify McArthur's other possible victims.

Det. -Sgt. Hank Idsinga said that the suspect was taken into custody Wednesday morning after police came across unspecified evidence that gave investigators a "significant" break.

Police were investigating the disappearances of Esen and Kinsman as part of "Project Prism".

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The bodies of Kinsman and Selim have not been found, but Idsinga said police have a "pretty good idea of what the cause of death is".

Esen, 44, went missing in April and Kinsman, 49, was last seen in June.

Members of the LGBTQ community were voicing concerns and pushing for answers previous year in light of the disappearances, which were deemed suspicious at the time. They also said previously that they did not believe the two disappearances were linked in any way.

Last December, police said Esen and Kinsman had been active on online dating apps prior to their disappearances. "We aren't able at this time to identify those victims".

Both disappearances prompted community-led search parties in both the Church-Wellesley Village and Cabbagetown.

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Police are still investigating McArthur's relationship to the men, but say it was "sexual" in nature, noting that he was a user of dating apps.

"It's their level of cooperation and information sharing that has allowed us to reach this conclusion", he said.

Investigators seized four properties in Toronto and one in Madoc, Ont., about 220 kilometres away, in connection with the investigation.

Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders will be announcing an arrest Thursday in relation to Project Prism, an investigation into two gay men who've gone missing from near the Church and Wellesley neighbourhood in the a year ago. It's unclear how many men they suspect McArthur of murdering.

McArthur is expected to appear in court at College Park on Friday at 10 a.m.

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Toronto police make arrest in Church and Wellesley disappearances