Canadian police say they are in the midst of an “unprecedented” investigation as they search for more victims of an alleged serial killer.
Self-employed Toronto landscaper Bruce McArthur, 66, currently faces five counts of first-degree murder.
Three of those charges are linked to men who frequented Toronto’s Gay Village neighbourhood.
Toronto’s LGBT community had raised concerns for months about a series of disappearances around the Village.
On Monday, Toronto police said that Mr McArthur has been charged with first degree murder in the deaths of Majeed Kayhan, Soroush Marmudi and Dean Lisowick.
Earlier this month, they charged the 66-year-old with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Andrew Kinsman and Selim Esen.
Esen, 44, went missing last April and Kinsman, 49, disappeared in June. Kayhan, 58, went missing in 2012. All three were known to spend time in the Village.
Marmudi, 50, was reported missing by his family in 2015.
Lisowick, 47, who police said lived in homeless shelters in Toronto, was never reported missing. It is believed he was murdered between May 2016 and July 2017.
Police say Kinsman and Mr McArthur had a “sexual” relationship with the suspect but have not revealed any links between the other suspected victims.
Last December, Toronto police tried to calm community concern that there was a serial killer stalking the Village.
Now, they are in the midst of a full-scale investigation that spans across Canada’s largest city.
Police are searching properties throughout Toronto for more victims in a probe that has expanded far beyond the LGBT community.
Toronto police detective Hank Idsinga said the investigation “certainly encompasses more than the gay community, it encompasses the city of Toronto”.
Police say the dismembered remains of three unidentified bodies were found in large planters at a property linked to Mr McArthur.
They say they are unsure whether those remains are linked to the five alleged victims already named by police.
Over a dozen planters have since been seized from addresses around the city.
Police also continue to search his home and a facility he used for storage. They are also two unidentified sites the police plan to excavate.
The alleged killer has “taken some steps to cover his tracks,” said Mr Idsinga.
Police are urging all of the alleged killer’s landscaping clients to reach out to police if they are not contacted by investigators.
“We do believe there are more [victims] and I have no idea how many more there are going to be,” said the detective.