Bruce McArthur, a suspected serial killer accused of targeting victims in Toronto's Gay Village, is being investigated in connection with cold cases from the 1970s, authorities announced.
McArthur was arrested in January and has been charged with six first-degree murder counts after police found human remains on premises where he had worked as a landscaper. As the investigation continued and police found even more remains, law enforcement officers said they had "no idea" how many victims McArthur may have, according to CNN.
Toronto police are now taking a second look at unsolved murders involving the Gay Village, Toronto's LGBT hub.
“I’ve got no evidence to say he’s linked to any of the cases, but bearing in mind the number of people we’re alleging he’s killed, we’re going to take a close look at some outstanding cold cases from the Gay Village in Toronto,” said Det.-Sgt. Hank Idsinga, according to The Toronto Star.
Idsinga said police are now “retracing McArthur’s life as far back as we can go."
Between 1975 and 1978, 14 gay men were killed in Toronto, and half of those cases went cold. Much like the alleged victims of McArthur, the murdered men were found to have been tied up, beaten and stabbed many times. Victim Alexander “Sandy” Romeo LeBlanc, for example, was stabbed over 100 times. The pattern of "overkill" in the '70s deaths now has investigators wondering if the all the murders are linked.
A variety of forensic techniques are being employed in the McArthur investigation, as police hunt for evidence that could be decades old.
“As part of that whole process we also utilize DNA, but usually as a last effort based upon the more traditional techniques,” Ontario chief forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Pollanen told Global News Canada.
A family member of victim 1977 murder victim Brian Dana Latocki doubts the new investigation will settle anything.
“Forty years have gone by. It appears that they’re trying to create a link to Bruce McArthur. To me, (it’s) very far-fetched ... Too much time has elapsed. It’s not going to do anything. It’s not going to bring closure. It’s not going to finalize anything,” said Nancy Latocki, a cousin of Latocki, to The Toronto Star.
Police have already linked McArthur to a seventh victim. In the hopes of identifying the body, police released a photo of the corpse as a "last resort."
McArthur is due back in court on Wednesday.
LGBT activists have criticized the handling of the case and how long it took for McArthur to get arrested, suggesting that bias delayed action.
“It continues the pattern that not everyone is being policed fairly and equally, and that the way in which police are profiling or giving value to certain people in our community is unfair,” Michael Erickson, co-owner of Glad Day Bookshop in the Gay Village, told The Toronto Star.
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