Investigators combing through the apartment of alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur seized more than 1,800 pieces of evidence in what the Toronto Police force called the “largest” — and one of the most expensive — forensic examinations in its history.
Landscaper McArthur, 66, was arrested in mid-January and accused of killing men he met on dating apps or in Toronto’s Gay Village neighborhood – and then burying some of their remains in potted planters on his properties.
Cops have since scoured every inch of his Thorncliffe Road apartment and announced on Tuesday that they’d completed their search, the CBC reported.
In addition to the evidence gathered, police took more than 18,000 photographs inside the 19th floor pad.
“Our team is tired, but proud,” said Det. Sgt. Hank Idsinga, who is leading the investigation.
Police didn’t yet provide any details about what was gathered or photographed.
McArthur is charged with eight counts of first-degree murder and cops are looking at 15 cold cases dating back to the 1970s to see if he was involved.
Because a lot of the murders could date back several years, investigators had to look in every nook and cranny to try and find blood, hairs, fibers and DNA belonging to the victims.
“You can imagine when you open the door to that place, you’re proceeding inch by inch going into the premises, literally, examining every square inch,” Idsinga said. “It’s extremely labor intensive when you tackle a scene like that.”
“It’s definitely a bigger task than a regular murder scene,” he added.
The forensic work was performed by 10 officers, with the two lead investigators on the scene every day since McArthur’s arrest.
“You want to minimize the number of people you have in the apartment,” Idsinga told The Toronto Star, explaining this was to avoid contaminating the space.
Since seven of the victim’s remains turned up in garden planters at a home where McArthur worked, cadaver dogs are also searching 75 other properties tied to him.
“It’s certainly the largest I’ve ever seen,” Idsinga said of the investigation, which is still ongoing.
And one of the costliest.
The Toronto Police Service is predicting a $3.8 million shortfall to their close to 1 billion budget due to “recent high-profile cases” including McArthur’s, last month’s van attack and the December slayings of billionaires Barry and Honey Sherman.
“It’s unprecedented for us in Toronto,” former homicide detective Mark Mendelson, who is now a private consultant told The Globe and Mail.
“It’s not like we sell chocolate bars where you can budget every year how many you will sell. You can’t forecast major crimes. There is no accounting for things like McArthur or things like the Yonge Street tragedy.”
McArthur is scheduled to appear in court May 23.
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