Project Prism – investigating Toronto’s Missing Men
Wednesday November 2nd, 2022 // 2:10 pm - 2:40 pm // Woodrow Wilson Ballroom
On April 30th, 2017, Selim ESEN was reported missing to the Toronto Police. On June 29th, 2017, Andrew KINSMAN was reported missing to the Toronto Police. In early July 2017, the need to create a dedicated task force to investigate their disappearances was identified. The mandate of Project PRISM was to investigate these two disappearances but also keeping an open mind to three previous missing men, Skandaraj NAVARATNAM, Abdulbasir FAIZI and Majeed KAYHAN whose disappearances were investigated during Project Houston in 2013.
On August 14th, 2017, Project Prism commenced its investigation.
The team commenced what turned out to be one of the largest investigations in the history of the Toronto Police Service. During the course of the investigation, the team was successful in identifying Bruce McARTHUR as someone who could not be excluded in the disappearance of Andrew KINSMAN. Over the next few months the team worked to develop McARTHUR into a person of interest and then a suspect, finally obtaining grounds to arrest him for Murder on January 17th, 2018.
During the investigation, the team, utilizing Major Case Management protocols managed 394 actions/tasks, followed-up on 501 Community Tips, worked to investigate 140 Crimestoppers tips, oversaw a massive electronic and physical mobile surveillance file for months providing near around the clock coverage, reviewed and authorized 49 judicial authorizations and budgeted and planned for a Part VI, authorization to intercept private communications.
On January 18th, 2018, Bruce McARTHUR was arrested and charged with two murders. It was only at this time that that true scope revealed he was responsible for many more. Search warrants were executed at 4 addresses in hopes of obtaining additional evidence. During these search warrants the remains of 8 men were located at a property associated to him.
The project team continued to manage the investigation consisting of one of the largest Forensic Investigations in the City’s history. More than 1800 exhibits were seized and 18,000 photographs were taken during this investigation. Searches of 100 properties utilizing cadaver detection dogs from multiple jurisdictions were conducted. The team also liaised with police services all over the world who reported possible missing person linkages to Bruce McARTHUR.
Throughout the court process the team assisted with managing the needs of 8 families, some from around the world, the many friends and the community needs. On February 28, 2019, Bruce McARTHUR plead guilty to 8 counts of first degree murder.
A/Detective Sergeant, Toronto Police Service, Homicide Cold Case and Missing Persons Unit
Steve Smith is a 25 year veteran of the Toronto Police Service. He currently manages the Homicide Cold Case Unit with the largest number of cases in Canada. He also oversees the Major Case Management Unit, the Forensic Video Unit and the newly formed Missing Persons Unit where he was instrumental in guiding its development. Throughout his career he has worked in several specialized squads such as the Drug Squad, Major Crime Unit, Major Projects, ROPE Squad and Hold Up Squad. While at the Hold Up Squad he solved a multi-national bank robbery spree known as the Vaulter Bandit and was awarded the Canadian Bankers Award in 2017 and 2018.Submit Questions