Exploring the killings that shine light on Canada’s underworld power struggle

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After years of relative calm, police in Hamilton and across Ontario suddenly have their hands full with brazen attacks on people with connections to organized crime.

Cece Luppino’s shooting death this week marks Hamilton’s third killing in two years where the victim has some link to the mob. All of shootings were similar, with the victim gunned down at home.

Police have said a recent surge of violence in the Toronto and Montreal areas seems to be connected to a power struggle, as different organized crime factions vie for position, and old scores are seemingly settled.

Here’s a look at the incidents experts and investigators believe point to upheaval happening right now in Canada’s criminal underworld.

The death of the ‘Teflon Don’

Though not a violent incident, experts say the death of the former head of the Montreal Mafia Vito Rizzuto seems to have opened the door for the violence being seen in Ontario.

The 67-year-old died back in 2013 after being hospitalized for pulmonary problems — just over a year after his release from an American prison.

Vito Rizzuto was the most powerful mob boss in Canada before his death in December 2013. (CBC)

In 2007, Rizzuto pleaded guilty in an American court to racketeering charges in exchange for a 10-year sentence in connection with the 1981 murders of three alleged gang leaders at a New York social club.

Rizzuto’s death paved the way for upheaval in the underworld, says Antonio Nicaso, a Mafia expert who teaches courses on organized crime at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont.

« There’s a power struggle left from the vacuum from Rizzuto, » he explained.

Angelo Musitano gunned down

The ripples of that power struggle first hit Hamilton in 2017, when notorious mobster Angelo Musitano was repeatedly shot outside his suburban home. The Musitano family was aligned with Rizzuto, which offered protection — until his death.

Musitano was gunned down just before the 20-year anniversary of the famous hit on the fearsome Johnny (Pops) Papalia, to which he was forever linked. At the time of Musitano’s death, friends described him as someone who found God and spent time caring for his young family.

But Musitano had also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder and once thrived in gangland life. The way he died pointed to Musitano being undone by his past, despite apparent efforts to forge a new future.

Organized crime expert James Dubro, who has written extensively about the Mafia in Ontario, previously told CBC Musitano’s supposed turn to God « doesn’t mean much for gangsters. »

Angelo Musitano (right) and Pat Musitano leaving Provincial Court for lunch in 1998. (Hamilton Spectator)

« It’s very hard to break away from that, » he said.

« Found religion? Maybe. But it doesn’t erase the past, if he did. »

Musitano and his brother Pat were charged with first-degree murder in connection with the 1997 shooting of Hamilton crime boss Johnny (Pops) Papalia and one of his lieutenants, Carmen Barillaro.

The brothers reached a deal and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder in the death of Barillaro. In turn, the charges against them in connection with Papalia’s death were dropped.

A Hamilton man is now facing a murder charge in connection with Musitano’s death. Police have also issued Canada-wide warrants for two more suspects who investigators believe may have fled to Mexico.

Mila Barberi’s death

That same man is also facing a murder charge in connection with the death of Toronto woman Mila Barberi.

Investigators announced in early last year that several characteristics linked the shootings of Barberi in March 2017 and Musitano two months later.

Jabril Hassan has been arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of Angelo Musitano and Mila Barberi. Michael Cudmore and Daniel Tomasetti are wanted on the same charges, but police believe they’ve fled to Mexico. (Hamilton Police Service)

Barberi, 28, was killed while she sat in a BMW SUV parked outside a business in the middle of the afternoon in an industrial area of Vaughan, Ont. She was picking up her boyfriend, Saverio Serrano, 40, who police say has connections to organized crime and may have been the intended target.

Pat Musitano’s home shot up

Just weeks after Angelo Musitano was killed, his brother received a message of his own, when someone fired bullets into his home.

No one was hurt, but detectives said at the time that they believed the home was specifically targeted.

Bullet holes could be seen in one of the front windows of Pat Musitano’s home. (Adam Carter/CBC)

Al Iavarone killed in ‘targeted attack’

Then, last September, 50-year-old Al Iavarone was shot as his home in Ancaster. Police said it was a « targeted attack, » and revealed Iavarone was associated with people involved in organized crime.

Police say Iavarone’s wife and two adult children were at home at the time of the incident. The shooter drove a silver vehicle onto the street, parked it, got out, then hid in the bushes. 

Al Iavarone worked out of Royal LePage’s Hamilton office for 10 years. (RoyalLePage)

When Iavarone got home, the shooter approached him and fired.

Investigators said at the time that Iavarone was a real estate agent and had no criminal record, but added he was known to police.

Mobster’s son shot dead

Which brings us to Luppino’s death. The son of mobster Rocco Luppino was gunned down at a Hamilton home owned by his father on Wednesday, in what police said appears to be yet another « targeted » killing.

The Luppino family was once a powerhouse in organized crime in the region. Court documents filed by the RCMP show the Luppino family is connected to a web of organized crime stretching from Hamilton to Buffalo, N.Y.

The documents, which were filed as part of the drug trafficking case against Domenico Violi and his brother Giuseppe (Joey) Violi, link the two families together. The RCMP also say the Luppino-Violi family is a faction of the Todaro crime family in Buffalo that is run by Joe Todaro, Jr.

Police say Luppino was 43-years-old. (Facebook)

Both Rocco Luppino and his brother Natale are « made » members of the Buffalo family who operate in Hamilton, police say.

Giacomo Luppino, Cece’s grandfather, was a heavyweight in organized crime circles in Hamilton several decades ago, said Nicaso.

« He was in charge in Hamilton in the ’60s and ’70s, » Nicaso said. « Giacomo was a very powerful boss. »

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Will Toronto see fewer killings in 2019? A violent year ends with record totals — and questions

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On Dec. 21 at 9 p.m., three men were shot in Etobicoke. Two were found in a bullet-riddled BMW. One, Cimran Farah, 20, died in the hospital six days later.

Farah’s death was the 96th homicide in Toronto in 2018 — the latest, as of Monday afternoon, in a year in which the city surpassed its previous record of 90, from 1991, by mid-November.

July 1: Toronto police block Queen Street W. the morning after a triple shooting that left one woman injured and killed Ernest (Kosi) Modekwe, 28, and Matthew Lidster, 29.
July 1: Toronto police block Queen Street W. the morning after a triple shooting that left one woman injured and killed Ernest (Kosi) Modekwe, 28, and Matthew Lidster, 29.  (Carlos Osorio / Toronto Star)

The youngest victim was a 3-week-old baby girl, one of ten minors killed this year.

The oldest was 94-year-old Betty Forsyth, who was killed in April along with nine others in the Yonge St. van attack.

Forty-six of those killed — just under half — were under the age of 30. Seventy-five were men and boys. Twenty-one were women and girls. By the Star’s count, police have neither arrested nor issued a warrant for arrest in 33 of these killings, excluding one apparent murder-suicide.

In a year-end press conference this week, Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders called 2018 a “unique” year marked by increases in gun violence and two exceptional mass casualty events. Looking ahead to the new year, Saunders was optimistic that homicide numbers will decline — a pattern the city has seen before, following the previous record-high year 1991 and another spike between 2005 and 2007.

Read more:

The 96 victims of Toronto’s record year in homicide

What Toronto’s homicide record means — and what we can do about it

Every Toronto homicide in the past 15 years — mapped

But, as criminologist Scot Wortley notes, without better understanding why shooting and gang-related violence has increased, it is difficult to know if this year was an outlier or a sign of a larger trend.

The year began with the Jan. 29 arrest of an alleged serial killer who is accused of targeting men connected to Toronto’s Gay Village since 2010. Bruce McArthur now faces eight charges of first-degree murder.

Then came the April van attack that left 10 dead and 16 injured and in July the Danforth shooting in which 10-year-old Julianna Kozis and 18-year-old Reese Fallon were killed and 13 injured.

Even without the 12 deaths from these two tragedies, Toronto’s homicide numbers for 2018 are high — significantly higher than in 2017, which saw 65 homicides, 2016, which was 75 and 2015, which saw 59.

March 18: An officer with the Toronto police Forensic Identification Services works at the scene of a double shooting at a crowded North York bowling alley. The shooting killed Thanh Tien Ngo, 32, and Ruma Amar, 29, a bystander.
March 18: An officer with the Toronto police Forensic Identification Services works at the scene of a double shooting at a crowded North York bowling alley. The shooting killed Thanh Tien Ngo, 32, and Ruma Amar, 29, a bystander.  (Richard Lautens/Toronto Star)
June 15: The Scarborough playground where two girls, ages 5 and 9, were seriously injured while playing after a gunman opened fire at another man.
June 15: The Scarborough playground where two girls, ages 5 and 9, were seriously injured while playing after a gunman opened fire at another man.  (Anne-Marie Jackson/Toronto Star)
July 25: People gather for a vigil on the Danforth three days after a gunman opened fire in the neighbourhood, shooting 15, killing 18-year-old Reese Fallon and 10-year-old Juliana Kozis.
July 25: People gather for a vigil on the Danforth three days after a gunman opened fire in the neighbourhood, shooting 15, killing 18-year-old Reese Fallon and 10-year-old Juliana Kozis.  (Carlos Osorio/Toronto Star)

More than half of Toronto homicides this year, 51, were fatal shootings, just two less than 2005, the city’s infamous “Year of the Gun.”

The victims include 22-year-old Yohannes Brhanu, found dead after a gun battle on a residential street in a car surrounded by bullet casings and shattered glass; 29-year-old Ruma Amar, shot in the back of the head in a hail of gunfire meant for someone else as she, her husband and sister were leaving a North York bowling alley; and 31-year old Jenas Nyarko, a shelter worker killed in a drive-by shooting while sitting in a car outside her apartment with friends after attending a funeral.

The number of shootings in the city this year also appears to have broken a record: In the latest police numbers published Monday, 2018 had seen 424 shootings, more than 2016’s year-end total of 407, which is the largest tally in any year since 2004, according to police data.

Saunders has attributed the gun violence to increased street gang activity and pointed to similar trends across North America. And while he outlined enforcement challenges for police that come with arresting and charging gang members — including witnesses with justifiable fears of retribution, poor community relationships with police, and a “team sport” mentality in gangs that means individual arrests of gang members have limited impact — he emphasized the need for solutions that go beyond policing at his year-end press conference.

“The enforcement piece plays an important part. I’m not here to say that it’s softer policing. I’m here to say that it’s smarter policing. There have to be agencies at the front end that prevent these young boys from shooting others. There’s a lot of funding that needs to be put in. Not grant funding; core funding, into the communities. Nobody’s ever, that I know of, born saying ‘I want to be a street gang member,’” Saunders said.

“To think we can arrest our way out of this is a falsehood.”

August 22: The Danforth is closed again the morning after another shooting at a sports bar killed Danny Morales, 35.
August 22: The Danforth is closed again the morning after another shooting at a sports bar killed Danny Morales, 35.  (Rene Johnston/Toronto Star)
Sept. 8: A sign at the Toronto Weston Flea Market as police investigate the shooting of Rocco Scavetta, 65, who was killed during a robbery attempt, police said.
Sept. 8: A sign at the Toronto Weston Flea Market as police investigate the shooting of Rocco Scavetta, 65, who was killed during a robbery attempt, police said.  (Steve Russell/Toronto Star)

In mid-December, the federal government announced Toronto will get $6.76 million in Public Safety funding over a five-year period for a program called the Community Healing Project. Police will also get up to $400,000 over two years to enhance the Neighbourhood Officers Program in eight priority neighbourhoods. Consultations about a handgun and ammunition ban are ongoing.

In the same month, the province announced cuts to after-school programming for at-risk youth that included part-time employment opportunities and tutoring for struggling elementary school children.

Wortley, who has researched gangs and gang violence in Toronto and Ontario, noted that while Toronto did have a record high number of homicides in 2018, the population of the city and the GTA overall has also grown rapidly since the previous record was set in 1991.

Accounting for population, the city has had a homicide rate of approximately 3.5 per 100,000 in 2018 — a number which does not account for the frequent movement of people into Toronto from the GTA on a daily basis.

In 1991, there were 3.8 killings per 100,000, the highest in city records. It would take 111 homicides in 2018 to reach the same rate. The long-term average in Toronto is about 2.4 homicides per 100,000, though it has risen above 3.0 in recent years.

Wortley said it does appear some of the spike in homicides this year are the result of gang-related activity, as well as neigbourhood conflicts that may be intensified through social media. Gang violence seems to have a “cyclical quality,” he said, but without knowing what’s causing the increase, it’s hard to predict whether it will relent.

One potential short-term cause for the increase may stem from the legalization of marijuana, he said, though it remains to be seen to what extent the violence reflects gangs trying to reposition themselves in a shrinking drug market, and trying to move into meth, opioids or cocaine, or into other crimes such as robberies.

However, a longer-term area of concern lies in “disturbing social patterns” that have emerged in Toronto in part due to affordability, he said.

There has been a decline in the quality and availability of affordable housing, an entrenchment of very poor areas in the city, increasing barriers to social mobility and a growing divide between rich and poor as well as a shrinking middle class, Wortley said. It is also important to consider the psychological impact of frequent shootings and violence on communities.

“To what extent is social inequality contributing to higher rates of violence?” Wortley said.

And if it continues, will Toronto begin to see more violence stemming from hopelessness and alienation?

Wortley agreed with Saunders on the need for long-term investment into non-policing solutions but noted that some of the most effective interventions — like early childhood programs — take a long time to show results which makes political support difficult to maintain.

“Do we have the patience to continue to fund those programs so that we can see the benefits of that investment?” he said.

Sept. 26: A memorial for Mackai Jackson, who was shot dead in Regent Park. The boy had days earlier celebrated his 15th birthday.
Sept. 26: A memorial for Mackai Jackson, who was shot dead in Regent Park. The boy had days earlier celebrated his 15th birthday.  (Andrew Francis Wallace/Toronto Star)
Dec. 19: A bullet hole on King St. hours after Edwin (Chris) Humberto Velasquez, 34, was shot dead in a double shooting.
Dec. 19: A bullet hole on King St. hours after Edwin (Chris) Humberto Velasquez, 34, was shot dead in a double shooting.  (Andrew Francis Wallace/Toronto Star)

With files from Wendy Gillis, Jim Rankin, May Warren and Star Staff

Alyshah Hasham is a Toronto-based reporter covering crime and court. Follow her on Twitter: @alysanmati

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A timeline of the Bruce McArthur case and the police investigation into the Gay Village killings

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On a grey Thursday in January, Toronto police made one of the biggest arrests in the city’s history.

Apprehended from a Thorncliffe Park apartment complex was Bruce McArthur, a self-employed landscaper. Police had uncovered evidence they alleged implicated him in the deaths of two missing men from Toronto’s Gay Village, Andrew Kinsman, 49, and Selim Esen, 44.

Bruce McArthur's alleged victims. They are, top, from left to right: Kirushnakumar Kanagaratnam, Majeed Kayhan, Skandaraj (Skanda) Navaratnam and Abdulbasir Faizi. And bottom, from left to right: Selim Esen, Soroush Mahmudi, Dean Lisowick and Andrew Kinsman.
Bruce McArthur’s alleged victims. They are, top, from left to right: Kirushnakumar Kanagaratnam, Majeed Kayhan, Skandaraj (Skanda) Navaratnam and Abdulbasir Faizi. And bottom, from left to right: Selim Esen, Soroush Mahmudi, Dean Lisowick and Andrew Kinsman.  (Star Wire Services)

At a press conference announcing the arrest, police said they believed there were more victims.

Over the next three months, McArthur, 67, would be charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of six more men: Majeed Kayhan, 58; Soroush Mahmudi, 50; Dean Lisowick, 47; Skandaraj (Skanda) Navaratnam, 40, Abdulbasir Faizi, 42, and Kirushnakumar Kanagaratnam, 37.

The sprawling, months-long police probe has seen the largest forensic investigation in Toronto’s history, and resulted in the discovery of dismembered, skeletal human remains buried in large planters on a Leaside property.

The arrest of an alleged serial killer came after long-held speculation in the Church-Wellesley community that a murderer was in their midst — a concern met with denial by police until just weeks before McArthur was arrested. As questions mounted about whether an arrest could have been made sooner, an independent review has been launched into the Toronto police handling of missing person’s cases.

Below is a detailed account of key dates in the ongoing investigation.

The Star intends to update this story as the Bruce McArthur case unfolds:

Oct. 2001: McArthur, 50, attacks a man midday inside the victim’s apartment in the Gay Village. McArthur strikes the man numerous times with a metal pipe. The victim, who has advertised in gay publications as a male hustler, calls 911 and is taken to hospital. McArthur goes to police headquarters to say he may have hurt someone and doesn’t know why he did it.

Jan. – April 2003: McArthur pleads guilty to assault with a weapon and assault causing bodily harm in the 2001 attack, his first criminal conviction. He later receives a conditional sentence of two years less a day, and three years’ probation. As part of his probation, he is barred from an area of the city that includes the Gay Village and from spending time with “male prostitutes.” He is also ordered to have a sample of DNA taken and added to a database. He later obtains a pardon for the conviction.

Sept. 2010: Skandaraj (Skanda) Navaratnam, 40, goes missing after he is seen leaving Zipperz, a now-closed bar at Church and Carlton Sts., with an unknown man. Speaking anonymously, a source tells Xtra that McArthur once dated Navaratnam, who is originally from Sri Lanka, beginning around 1999. The two men were listed as friends on Facebook.

Police later allege McArthur killed Navaratnam on or about Sept. 6.

Dec. 2010: Abdulbasir Faizi, a 42-year-old machine operator at a printing company in Mississauga, is reported missing to Peel Regional Police. His car is later found abandoned in Toronto, in the area of St. Clair Ave. E. and Mount Pleasant Rd.

Police later allege McArthur killed Faizi on or about Dec. 29, 2010, according to court documents.

Oct. 2012: Majeed Kayhan, a 58-year-old Afghan immigrant, disappears and is reported missing by his son.

Police later allege McArthur killed Kayhan “on or about” Oct. 18, 2012.

Nov. 2012: Toronto police in downtown’s 51 division launch Project Houston, an investigation into the disappearances of Navaratnam, Kayhan, and Faizi.

Late 2012 – June 2013: During Project Houston, Toronto police find some evidence Navaratnam has been murdered. Investigators from the homicide squad join the case, pursuing evidence including the suggestion Navaratnam had been the victim of a cannibalism ring. That evidence is discounted — and the investigation continues without the involvement of the homicide squad.

April 2014: Project Houston ends. McArthur was never a suspect in the investigation, but sources will later tell the Star he was questioned by police around the time of Project Houston.

Aug. 2015: Soroush Mahmudi, a 50-year-old professional painter, is last seen alive by his home near Markham Rd. and Blakemanor Blvd. in Scarborough. He is reported missing by his family.

Police later allege McArthur killed Mahmudi on or about Aug. 15.

Late 2015: Police later allege McArthur kills Kirushnakumar Kanagaratnam, 37, sometime between September 2015 and December 2015.

Kanagaratnam, a refugee from Sri Lanka, had never been reported missing.

2016: Toronto police question McArthur after a man reports that McArthur attempted to strangle him during an otherwise consensual encounter, according to sources who spoke to the Star. McArthur is let go.

April 2016: Dean Lisowick checks into the Scott Mission shelter in Toronto for the last time.

Police later allege McArthur killed Lisowick between April 2016 and March 2017.

April 2017: Selim Esen, a 44-year-old Turkish citizen, goes missing.

Police later allege McArthur killed Esen on or about April 16, 2017.

June 2017: Andrew Kinsman, a 49-year-old Cabbagetown resident, goes missing. Investigators will later confirm that Kinsman and McArthur had a sexual relationship.

Police later allege McArthur killed Kinsman on or about June 26.

Two pages from a production order Toronto police filed in Sept. 2017. The heavily redacted document was one of several ordered unsealed in October.
Two pages from a production order Toronto police filed in Sept. 2017. The heavily redacted document was one of several ordered unsealed in October.

Aug. 2017: Toronto police launch Project Prism, a probe into the disappearances of Esen and Kinsman. Investigators from downtown’s 51 division and other units are brought in, and information is shared from Project Houston.

Sept. 2017: McArthur becomes a person of interest in Kinsman’s death, launching a probe into McArthur that would include surveillance of his vehicle and a team of officers tracking him around the GTA.

Nov. 2017: Police uncover evidence suggesting Kinsman has likely been murdered and McArthur is a suspect. Part of their investigation includes seizing McArthur’s rusted maroon Dodge Caravan from Dom’s Auto Parts in Courtice, just outside Oshawa.

Unsealed court documents later reveal that Kinsman’s blood was found inside one of McArthur’s vehicles.

Dec. 2017: Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders downplays the suggestion of a serial killer in the Gay Village, as concerns mount about a growing list of people disappearing from the area.

A police spokesperson says there is “no evidence — let me repeat, no evidence” linking any of the disappearances. Homicide investigators, meanwhile, obtain authorization to surreptitiously enter McArthur’s home and clone his computer in connection to Kinsman’s death.

Jan. 18, 2018: McArthur is under police surveillance when officers observe a young man entering his apartment and intervene. The man is found tied up but unharmed.

McArthur is arrested and charged with the murders of Esen and Kinsman. The charges are made possible after police uncover evidence that “pushed the case over the edge,” says Det.-Sgt. Hank Idsinga, the lead detective on the case. Investigators believe there are other victims and reveal they are searching properties linked to McArthur, in Toronto and Madoc, Ont.

Jan. 29, 2018: McArthur is charged in the deaths of three more men: Kayhan, Mahmudi, and Lisowick. Idsinga reveals police discovered the dismembered, skeletal remains of three unidentified people buried inside planters at a Leaside home where McArthur worked as a landscaper. Investigators seize more than a dozen large planters from the property in search of more human remains.

Feb. 8, 2018: Toronto police reveal that the remains of at least six people have been recovered from a private property at 53 Mallory Cres., a Leaside home owned by Karen Fraser and Ron Smith. The remains of Kinsman are identified through fingerprint evidence.

A few days later, after heating and excavating frozen earth in the backyard, police say they will halt digging but may return when the weather is warmer.

Feb. 23, 2018: McArthur is charged with Navaratnam’s murder. Navaratnam’s remains were among the dismembered human remains recovered inside the planters, identified through dental records.

The charge means McArthur is now accused of killing two of the three men whose disappearances were probed during Project Houston. Mahmudi’s remains have also been identified through dental records, police reveal.

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March 5, 2018: In a rare move, Toronto police release a photo of a dead, unidentified man who they believe is a seventh victim of McArthur. The image is a close-up of a deceased man with dark skin, black hair and a beard. Investigators “cleaned up” the photo to “remove some artifacts,” Idsinga says.

Police also reveal that a seventh set of human remains have been uncovered in the Mallory Cres. planters. The discovery means four outstanding sets of human remains are undergoing forensic DNA testing to be identified.

March 6, 2018: The Star reveals that an internal police misconduct investigation has begun in connection with a past police interaction with McArthur. Idsinga tells the Star he initiated a complaint into “concerning” behaviour of officers who “potentially did not do what they were supposed to have done,” but does not provide any detail.

March 22, 2018: In the wake of mounting questions about past handling of the McArthur investigation, the Toronto police board commissions an external review of how Toronto police handle missing-persons cases — though the probe cannot directly examine the McArthur case because of the ongoing investigation and looming trial. The external investigation is supported by Chief Saunders, who had already launched an internal investigation of missing-persons cases.

April 3, 2018: Toronto police withdraw an application to participate in the 2018 Pride parade, one day after Pride Toronto and a coalition of LGBTQ groups called on police to rescind their request to take part.

Citing anger and shock about the deaths in the Gay Village and “insufficient” investigations into missing-persons cases, the groups said the damaged relationship between the community and police “cannot be mended through a parade.”

April 11, 2018: McArthur is charged with a seventh count first-degree murder in Faizi’s death after forensic pathologists identify his remains among those found in the Mallory Cres. planters.

April 16, 2018: Police identify the deceased man in the photograph as Kirushnakumar Kanagaratnam, and charge McArthur with an eighth count of first-degree murder. Kanagaratnam is the youngest man alleged to be killed by McArthur.

May 2018: Toronto police complete their four-month forensic examination of McArthur’s 19th-floor Thorncliffe Park apartment building. They seized 1,800 exhibits and took more than 18,000 photographs. The probe is officially the largest forensic investigation in Toronto’s history.

June 2018: Ontario Court of Appeal Justice Gloria Epstein is tapped to lead an independent review of how Toronto police review missing persons cases. She retires from Ontario’s highest court to conduct the review, which will examine whether the probes into the alleged McArthur victims’ disappearances could have been “tainted by systemic bias or discrimination.”

Toronto police sift through materials behind 53 Mallory Cres. in a July 5 file photo.
Toronto police sift through materials behind 53 Mallory Cres. in a July 5 file photo.  (Tijana Martin/The Canadian Press)

July 2018: Toronto police resume an extensive search behind 53 Mallory Cres. involving cadaver dogs and locate human remains just hours in. Human remains are found virtually every day of the nine-day excavation of what police called a ‘compost pile’ at the back of the property, in a forested ravine.

The remains are identified as those of Kayhan, the sole alleged McArthur victims whose remains had not yet been recovered. His are the only remains not buried inside large planters on the same Leaside property.

October 2018: Toronto police provide details of its dedicated missing person’s unit, formed after criticism of Toronto police handling of sudden disappearances, including those now alleged to be McArthur’s victims.

Wendy Gillis is a Toronto-based reporter covering crime and policing. Reach her by email at wgillis@thestar.ca or follow her on Twitter: @wendygillis

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