Monday 6 December 2021

Book ~ "Missing from the Village: The Story of Serial Killer Bruce McArthur, the Search for Justice, and the System That Failed Toronto's Queer Community" (2020) Justin Ling

From Goodreads ~ The tragic and resonant story of the disappearance of eight men - the victims of serial killer Bruce McArthur - from Toronto's queer community and the failures of the social and political systems which allowed the cases to go unsolved for so long.

In 2013, the Toronto Police Service announced that the disappearances of three missing men - Skandaraj Navaratnam, Abdulbasir Faizi, and Majeed Kayhan - from Toronto's gay village were, perhaps, linked. On paper, an investigation continued for a year but remained "open but suspended." By 2015, investigative journalist Justin Ling had begun to put in multiple requests to speak to the investigators on the case. Meanwhile, more men would go missing and police would continue to deny that there might be a serial killer. On January 18, 2018, Bruce McArthur, a landscaper, would be charged with three counts of first-degree murder. In February 2019, he was convicted of eight counts of first-degree murder. 

This extraordinary book tells the complete story of the McArthur murders. Based on more than five years of in-depth reporting, this is also a story of police failure, of how the gay community failed its own, and the story of the eight men who went missing and the lives they left behind. In telling that story, Justin Ling uncovers the latent homophobia and racism that kept this case unsolved and unseen. This gripping book reveals how police agencies across the country fail to treat missing persons cases seriously, and how policies and laws, written at every level of government, pushed McArthur's victims out of the light and into the shadows. 

I like reading true stories and this one was especially interesting to me since it happened in Toronto not that long ago.  

Starting in 2013, men who frequented Toronto's gay village started disappearing ... some of the men were openly gay while others had families in the suburbs leading double lives.  At first the police didn't think the disappearances were connected.  As soon as Bruce McArthur landed on their radar around the beginning of 2018, the pieces started to fall into place.  McArthur was a 66-year-old landscaper who had been married and had two children before separating from his wife in 1997.  He knew the men, meeting them in gay bars or online.  The police found remnants of his victims in planters at his clients' sites.  He was sentenced to life imprisonment with no parole eligibility for 25 years.

It was interesting to get the scoop on this story.  I liked the writing style ... I found it was written at a high level and there was enough information given.  The author also provided information on what else was going on at the time (other murders, missing people, crimes, etc.).  I found the author went on rants at times expressing his own opinion rather than being unbiased but it's his book and he can write what he wants, right?  But it was obvious he had put a lot of time and effort into researching this book and it was near and dear to his heart since he was a journalist and a gay man.

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