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Canada

Toronto ‘serial killer’ faces seventh murder charge over Muslim dad who secretly visited gay bathhouses

When Abdulbasir Faizi disappeared, his wife thought he’d run off with another man; now police believe he is a victim of alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 April, 2018, 12:44am
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 April, 2018, 6:14am

Alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur is now facing a seventh murder charge involving a missing man whose family initially thought he had abandoned his wife and two daughters after visiting gay bath houses.

McArthur, a 66-year-old landscaper, was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Abdulbasir Faizi on Wednesday. McArthur appeared by video during the session.  

A relative, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to a lack of permission from the family to speak publicly, said she is relieved Faizi’s remains have been found.

“For me at least there’s a sense of relief because he didn’t abandon anyone. He didn’t run away,” she said.

Police have trying to identify the remains of several men found at a property McArthur used as storage for his landscaping business and say he targeted men he met through dating apps that cater to gay men, meeting them at bars in the “Gay Village” area of Toronto, as well as male prostitutes.

An assistant machine operator at a printing company, Faizi went missing on December 29, 2010.

Trying to determine why, his Muslim family accessed his computer and was shocked to discover he had been secretly going to bathhouses in the Gay Village and was on gay dating apps for older and large men.

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When they then went to police, officers suggested he had probably just left, the relative said. Faizi’s wife divorced him, thinking he abandoned her and their two young daughters.

“She didn’t know. He wasn’t out. As far as she knows they were married and they were happy and he abandoned her and the daughters,” she said.

But she said she always knew he didn’t run away. “It didn’t make sense. He didn’t take his passport and he didn’t take any money. It didn’t make sense that police had this theory that he ran away,” she said.

“I feel very guilty now because I didn’t do enough.”

Police set up a task force, Project Houston, in 2012 after Skandaraj Navaratnam, Majeed Kayhan and Faizi, an Afghan who immigrated to Canada from Iran, went missing. 

The three are South Asian or Middle Eastern and frequented gay bars in Toronto’s Gay Village. Project Houston closed in 2014. McArthur has now been charged with their murders and the murders of four other men.

McArthur appeared on screen in court on Wednesday wearing an orange jumpsuit, and spoke only to say his name and acknowledge that he understood the charges against him. 

He has not entered a plea. Edward Royle, a lawyer for McArthur, has previously declined to comment on the case and didn’t immediately respond to messages for comment on Wednesday.