Police wrap investigation at McArthur apartment

Since January 19th, police have been going throug the Thorncliffe Park apartment, where alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur once lived.

And they've gone through the unit with a fine-toothed comb.

Officers have released an update, saying they have finally finished up at that location, after seizing 1,800 pieces of evidence and taking 18,000 photos of the apartment on Thorncliffe Park Drive.

NEWSTALK 1010 crime specialist and former Toronto homicide detective Mark Mendelson says the kind of work forensic investigators have been doing for the last four months is painstaking, advancing centimetre by centimetre.

He says investigators would have deconstructed McArthur’s apartment, looking for evidence like blood that can seep into unseen crevices and be detected even after cleaning. 

Mendelson expects floor boards, tile and trim would have been ripped up, light fixtures and air vents dismantled, walls opened.

He says forensic investigators are constantly trying to outsmart criminals.

“People are very creative when they commit murders. They watch a lot of television, they watch a lot of reality shows and they’ve thought about different ways to hide things. Forensic investigators have to be as creative as the killers and think outside the box.”

Mendelson says a key piece of evidence missed in the probe of the murders of Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy still haunts many investigators.

During a 71-day search of the pink St. Catharines bungalow of killers Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka in early 1993, police did not find videotapes of the couple raping and torturing French, Mahaffy and two other girls hidden above a bathroom pot light.

The graphic videos were collected by Bernardo’s lawyer and turned over to police more than a year after Homolka agreed to a plea deal that saw her testify against Bernardo in exchange for a 12-year manslaughter sentence.

“That’s something that every forensic officer remembers and they don’t want to be the next one to do that,” says Mendelson.

McArthur, 66, is facing eight counts of first degree murder, in the deaths of Selim Esen, Andrew Kinsman, Majeed Kayhan, Dean Lisowick, Soroush Mahmudi, Skandaraj Navaratnam, Abdulbasir Faizi, and Kirushna Kanagaratnam.

Investigators have been able to identify the remains of all but Majeed Kayhan.

Combining this with other searches throughout the GTA, this has been the largest forensic examination in Toronto Police history.

The unit has now been turned back over to property management, but it's still unclear what will happen with it.

(with files from S. Morris)