A man who lives in two houses connected to a serial-murder investigation is co-operating with homicide detectives and is not a suspect, police and his family say.
Roger Horan has spoken with investigators about his long-time friend and fellow landscaper Bruce McArthur, according to Mr. Horan's nephew. Mr. McArthur was charged last week with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Selim Esen and Andrew Kinsman. Police have said they believe there are additional victims.
"I know that Roger was in complete shock when he heard about everything," said Barry Horan, whose father, Brendan, owns the properties. Barry Horan, who lives in Ireland along with his father and works at the family's truck and bus dealership outside Dublin, said his uncle co-operated fully with police and is not facing any charges.
"I know he assisted in the investigation and he was never arrested or anything. He was never involved. He was asked a few questions and he assisted," Barry Horan said, adding that his uncle has been friends with Mr. McArthur for some 20 years.
Police spokeswoman Meghan Gray said: "Mr. Horan did co-operate with police and he is not a suspect at this time."
Police searched the two houses, which Roger Horan maintains, in relation to their investigation into Mr. McArthur. Neighbours said they have seen Mr. McArthur at both properties. One home is in Scarborough and the other, a farmhouse, is in the small community of Madoc, about 200 kilometres east of the city. Brendan Horan recently sold the Scarborough home – the transaction is due to close next month – and Roger Horan, who is downsizing, will move into the Madoc property full-time, Barry Horan said. "As far as he's concerned, the properties aren't part of the investigation any more," Barry Horan said, referring to his uncle.
Ms. Gray confirmed that investigators have released the two homes.
As part of their investigation, police scoured five properties connected to Mr. McArthur, including the two owned by Brendan Horan as well as three in Toronto, which are still being investigated: Mr. McArthur's Thorncliffe Park apartment, the condo of his ex-partner near Eglinton Avenue East and Don Mills Road and a house in Leaside, where Mr. McArthur did yard work for the owners and stored equipment in the garage.
Mr. McArthur, a 66-year-old self-employed landscaper who was well known in Toronto's Gay Village, was arrested last Thursday. He had a sexual relationship with Mr. Kinsman, 49, for some time, police said. Mr. Esen, 44, was also known to spend time in the community near Church and Wellesley Streets.
The arrest came weeks after Police Chief Mark Saunders said there was no evidence a serial killer was targeting the city's LGBTQ community.
In announcing the charges, police said they had not found Mr. Esen's or Mr. Kinsman's bodies but were executing multiple search warrants in an effort to locate them. Investigators also said they believe there are other victims who have not yet been identified and also said they believe they have evidence of the cause of their deaths.
Although Toronto police have not used the term "serial killer" in relation to Mr. McArthur's arrest, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation defines it as someone who unlawfully kills at least two people in separate events.
Police were looking into Mr. McArthur as far back as three months ago when they tracked down his old Dodge Caravan at an auto-parts business in Courtice, Ont., just east of Toronto. Dominic Vetere, owner of Dom's Auto Parts, said officers found trace amounts of blood in the vehicle.
Mr. McArthur's next court appearance is set for February.