Investigation forces Leasiders out of home

Couple’s gardener arrested for Church-Wellesley murders

Leaside residents Karen Fraser and her partner Ron Smith were given 20 minutes to vacate their home on Mallory Crescent when police knocked on their door the morning of Jan. 18.

An investigation into a 66-year-old Thorncliffe Park man, who was arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree murder that same day, led to the home where he once worked as a gardener.

As of Jan. 24, the two were still unable to return home and were staying with friends.“The search warrant is open-ended, for obvious reasons, so … [the police] can stay as long as they like,” said Fraser.

A series of missing-person cases in the Church Street and Wellesley Street area led police to suspect the man working for the couple.

At a press conference about the investigation, dubbed Project Prism, in January, Det. Sgt. Hank Idsinga said the accused is believed to be responsible for the deaths of Selim Esen, 44, and Andrew Kinsman, 49, who went missing in 2017.

“We believe he is responsible for the deaths of Mr. Kinsman and Mr. Esen, and we believe he is responsible for the deaths of other men who have yet to be identified.”

The accused is a self-employed gardener, under the company name Artistic Design, and although Idsinga said the bodies of the victims have not yet been found, police have a “good idea what the cause of death is.”

“As of right now, interviews are taking place and police have secured five properties, four in Toronto and one in Madoc, Ont., connected to [the accused] in an effort to further investigate these occurrences,” he said.

Fraser said that various media outlets had falsely reported the accused owned their property, which she refuted. She also said the community has stepped up to take care of them while they’re temporarily displaced.

The Toronto Police Service has asked anyone with information to contact the Project team at 416-808-2021. Idsinga said the team is most concerned with identifying other victims.