Victim was Sri Lankan Refugee – Victim 5

Black and white photo of Toronto homicide victims of a serial killer
Photos of murder victims Skandaraj Navaratnam, Abdulbasir Faisi, Majeed “Hamid” Kayhan, Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam, Soroush Mahmudi, Dean Kisowick, Selim Esen, Andrew Kinsman

Toronto police had a photograph of a dead man’s face, and parts of his body, before they had his name. Alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur, who is already facing seven counts of first-degree murder, is rumoured to have taken photographs of his victims in various poses up to and including the “death pose”. Parts of the man were found in planters, along with body parts of other victims, at 53 Mallory Crescent where McArthur, a landscaper, was storing equipment.

On March 5, and again on April 9, 2018 police released a “cleaned up” version of one of the dead men’s faces, in the hopes that someone in the community could identify him.

LGBTQ community leader Nicki Ward assisted police by using her graphic design skills and Photoshop to create a photograph that was more realistic and “alive”, based on the one police had issued, in the hopes that it would assist in the dead man’s identification.

Black and white photo of Toronto homicide victim Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam

On April 12, police announced they had confirmed the mystery man’s identity with the help of an unnamed international agency. Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam, 37, had never been reported as missing by his Sri Lankan family because as a refugee claimant, his family thought he had purposefully disappeared when his refugee claim was denied. Kanagaratnam was one allegedly of many of McArthur’s victims who are of South Asian and Middle Eastern descent, and are from vulnerable communities.

Kanagaratnam was one of almost 500 Sri Lankan asylum seekers on the MV Sun Sea who in 2010 claimed refugee status in Canada based on the ongoing fight between the Sri Lankan government and Tamil fighters called the Tamil Tigers, a terrorist group. However, many of the men who came to British Columbia via cargo ship were suspected of being terrorists, and detained. Everyone including Kanagaratnam was detained while their identifications were verified. A poll at the time indicated about 60% of Canadians wanted the refugees sent back to Sri Lanka.

Kanagaratnam stopped contacting his family in late August 2015, and police believe it was between September 3 and December 14, 2015 that McArthur killed Kanagaratnam. His family never reported him missing to either Sri Lankan or Toronto authorities for fear it would result in his deportation, however they did use Facebook to try to reach out to him.

Unlike McArthur’s other victims, as of April 2018, police have no direct link from Kanagaratnam to the Gay Village and is not known at this time to be LGBT+. Det. Sgt. Hank Idsinga, who is overseeing the McArthur investigation, raised concerns that Kanagaratnam does not fit the profile currently known about the victims. “This does create basically a wide open net,” he said.

The National Post newspaper reported on April 16 that, “according to source close to the investigation, [McArthur]changed his pattern when it came to targeting potential victims after being interviewed as a witness in the disappearance of Skandaraj Navaratnam… [and he] began to target men whom he had no links to and who fewer people would notice missing.”

However, the Toronto Star reported on April 20 that “Some members of the Tamil community say he may have been living on the streets surrounding the Church and Wellesley community. There is also speculation that Kanagaratnam could have encountered McArthur through one of his odd jobs, possibly a landscaping gig.”

Information regarding the relationship of Kanagaratnam and McArthur will be sorted out as the trial continues.

February 2019 Update: Bruce McArthur pleaded guilty to 8 counts of murder, for:

He was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years. Please see our post on What is a “Life Sentence” in Canada for an explanation on the complexity of murder sentences in Canada.


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam
Age: 37
Gender: Male
Date of Death: Between Sep 3 and Dec 14, 2015
Manner of Death: unknown
Location: unknown
Suspect Name: Bruce McArthur
Conviction & Sentence: Life in prison, with no chance of parole for 25 years

Wife Reported Him Missing – Victim 2

Black and white photo of Toronto homicide victims of a serial killer
Photos of murder victims Skandaraj Navaratnam, Abdulbasir Faisi, Majeed “Hamid” Kayhan, Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam, Soroush Mahmudi, Dean Kisowick, Selim Esen, Andrew Kinsman

On December 29, 2010, Abdulbasir Faizi, 42, disappeared. On April 11, 2018, Toronto police announced they charged alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur with his murder.

Faizi was a married immigrant from Afghanistan, with a wife and two daughters. He was last seen leaving his work at a Mississauga printing company around 7 p.m. on the evening of December 28, 2010. He was driving his 2002 Nissan Sentra. He was last seen in the area of Church and Wellesley Streets, in the heart of the Village, that evening. His wife reported Faizi missing to Peel police (who oversee the city of Mississauga) the next day.

Black and white photo of Toronto homicide victim Abdulbasir Faizi

Police informed Faizi’s wife, Kareema Faizi, about his double life and numerous affairs with men, and she filed divorce papers against him. Ms. Faizi wrote in the divorce papers that she visited the Gay Village a number of times in an attempt to locate him, but police had suggested he had abandoned his family and did not want to be found.

It wasn’t until McArthur was arrested and his apartment and work locations searched that police were able to confirm that Faizi was a victim of homicide. Subsequent to McArthur’s arrest, police have been heavily criticized for failing to connect the murders to McArthur sooner than they had. The Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention sent an open letter to police in January 2018 calling for a review of the police resources put into the search for these racialized men.

Toronto police said they believe Faizi was killed “on or about” December 29, 2010. His car was found seven days later on Moore Avenue, just a short drive from St. Claire Avenue and Mount Pleasant Road where McArthur worked as a landscaper. His body or a portion thereof was located in planters with other men’s body parts, and was identified in April 2018. He was identified using DNA.

Det.-Sgt. Hank Idsinga, who is heading up the current investigation into allegations involving McArthur, said police believe Faizi and McArthur knew each other prior to Faizi’s disappearance.

Police are continuing their search, hoping to investigate a further 75 properties associated with McArthur where remains may be found. They are waiting for the ground to thaw before bringing in cadaver dogs and digging equipment. Police are also looking into numerous unsolved murder cases of gay men in the 1970s, which are documented here on Murder Village.

February 2019 Update: Bruce McArthur pleaded guilty to 8 counts of murder, for:

He was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years. Please see our post on What is a “Life Sentence” in Canada for an explanation on the complexity of murder sentences in Canada.


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Abdulbasir Faizi
Age: 42
Gender: Male
Date of Death: December 29, 2010 (estimate)
Manner of Death: unknown at this time
Location: unknown at this time
Suspect Name: Bruce McArthur
Conviction & Sentence: Life in prison, with no chance of parole for 25 years

Dominating In Death

Police search for Grayce Baxter's body by Dale Brazao, 1993
Police search for Grayce Baxter’s body, photo by Dale Brazao, 1993

On December 8, 1992, Grayce Baxter went missing. It was weeks before her friends reported her missing. Baxter was a transsexual high-priced call-girl who, according to her friend “Mary”, was also a former crack-cocaine addict.

Baxter was very cautious. She always valet-parked her car when she arrived at her condo and secured her alarm when she got inside. She carried a stun gun and a can of mace to all her calls. Baxter stood 6-foot tall and weighed 160 pounds, and her clientele was mostly submissive wealthy married businessmen.

Black and white photo of murder victim Grayce Baxter
Murder victim Grayce Baxter

Baxter, (26 or 28 years of age) disappeared with her 1989 black BMW. The car was found two days later in the parking lot of Gerrard Square, a shopping mall at Gerrard St. and Pape Avenue. Police say she was last seen by a friend in Mississauga, where she got a 3am call from an escort agency she worked for. She drove off in her BMW.

When advised their daughter was missing, Baxter’s parents flew to Toronto to aid in her search.

Black and white photo of murder victim Grayce Baxter
Murder victim Grayce Baxter

By the end of the year, police had her client list, rumoured to be a very large list of names, and were requesting through the press that her former clients voluntarily contact police to avoid embarrassment. “If they don’t come to us, we’ll have to seek them out and that could be embarrassing in some cases,” Detective Jim McDermott said. By December 31, police suspected foul play.

Baxter lived a wealthy lifestyle with a waterfront condominium at 10 Yonge St., and was known to host lavish parties. Grayce, born with the name Grant, also went by the street name Candice. She charged $350-$400 an hour and worked at two agencies. Normally, a client would go through the agency where they can be vetted. This did not appear to be the case on December 8.

Police got a break in the case through a cellular telephone record linking the killer directly to Baxter. On January 7, 1993, police approached Patrick Daniel Johnson, 23, of 55 Wynford Heights Crescent with the telephone record.

Black and white photo of Murderer Patrick Johnson
Murderer Patrick Johnson

When police went to the home of the suspect to give him a lie-detector test and they found him with self-inflicted wounds, but he was still alive.

On January 9, police announced they had arrested Johnson for first-degree murder. Her body was not found at the time of the arrest. Johnson was a former client of Baxter’s, and a part-time prison guard at the Don Jail in Toronto, although police did not know that until the time of his arrest. During his trial, it was reported that he told police, “You might as well take me right now. You know I did it. It’s been a living hell for a month… It was an accident. It just went too far.”

He had called her to his apartment after agreeing to pay her $200 for 45 minutes of sex. A fight ensued because Johnson was having difficulty coming to orgasm but his time was up. He strangled her. He cut up her body, dumped her in the garbage dumpster, and, 11 days later, pawned a diamond ring and Rolex watch.

Police search for Grayce Baxter's body by Dale Brazao, 1993
Police search for Grayce Baxter’s body photo by Dale Brazao, 1993

A man had told detectives his friend had information about the killing and had sent a letter to the Toronto Sun newspaper. A handwritten, six page letter arrived in the newsroom on January 11, 1993, mailed before but received after, the murderer’s arrest.

Contained in the envelope was a Ministry of Corrections identification card bearing a man’s photo and signed “Dan Johnson”. In the letter, the killer said he never knew Baxter was a transsexual, and he would go on to boast about having sex with his girlfriend 14 times over three days.

Ten days later, police began the gruesome task of using bulldozers and garden hoes to dig through a Pickering garbage dump for Baxter’s body. They estimated it could take a month to find her, as they believed her body had been dumped into a garbage bin. On March 17, 1993, police announced they called off the search for Baxter’s dismembered body. They had sifted through millions of kilograms of garbage in their fruitless search.

On April 18, 1994, almost a year and a half after Grayce Baxter went missing, Johnson pleaded guilty to second-degree murder just before his trial started. He was sentenced to life in jail with no eligibility for parole for 10 years.

Grayce Baxter has never been found.

 


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Grayce Baxter
Age: 26-28
Gender: Female
Date of Death: December 8, 1992
Manner of Death: Strangled
Location: 55 Wynford Heights Crescent
Suspect Name: Patrick Daniel Johnson
Conviction & Sentence: Life with no eligibility for parole for 10 years