Man missing since 2010 was romantically involved with accused killer Bruce McArthur, says friend
Skandaraj Navaratnam said to have first met McArthur in 1999
A gay man who disappeared in 2010 had a romantic history with suspected murderer Bruce McArthur, according to the missing man's friend.
Kevin Nash says Skandaraj Navaratnam, known to friends as Skanda, met McArthur in 1999 and they began a relationship in the early 2000s.
McArthur, 66, has been charged with two counts of first degree murder in the cases of Andrew Kinsman and Selim Esen. Police say they believe there are other victims.
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"He was definitely dating the guy, and he started working for him as a landscaper," said Nash, who says he later found out the relationship was non-monogamous.
Navaratnam was last seen leaving a nightclub in September, 2010. Police later announced they were investigating his disappearance alongside two other similar cases of gay men who went missing between 2010 and 2012. Police dubbed that investigation Project Houston.
Police announced last Thursday that Project Prism, the taskforce created to investigate the disappearances of Esen and Kinsman, has been sharing information with Project Houston.
McArthur has not been charged in connection with Navaratnam's disappearance.
Pair still involved in 2008, says friend
Another friend of Navaratnam's, Jean-Guy Cloutier, said he wasn't aware of a relationship with McArthur, but did confirm to CBC Toronto that the two knew each other.
"Skanda introduced me back in 2008 or 2009 to Mr. McArthur as somebody he knew," he said.
Cloutier, who became close with Navaratnam around 2007, says he was unsurprised to learn that his friend had been involved with McArthur.
"His type of person that he liked was usually older men. With the white hair and goatee," he said.
Nash, who described Navaratnam as "devoted" and "very fun," also said that he was generally attracted to older men.
He remembers meeting McArthur, describing him as "a jolly-looking man, pleasant, courteous" but said he "seemed straight laced."
The two friends eventually drifted apart, but Nash says he bumped into Navaratnam one last time at a nightclub in 2008.
"We hugged, I talked to him about everything," he remembered. "He was still doing the landscaping, was still dating or was still with Bruce at the time, and that's where we ended the conversation."
McArthur and Navaratnam were listed as friends on Facebook before McArthur's profile was pulled down.
Brother says news is 'devastating'
News of McArthur's arrest has left Navaratnam's friends and family in shock.
Navaseelan Navaratnam, Skanda's brother, told CBC Toronto via a Facebook message that his family has been searching for answers since the day he disappeared:
"We have been waiting for an answer for 7 years and now there is this news which is devastating to our family," he said of McArthur's arrest.
Meanwhile, the memory of his brother remains, he says.
"He was a very fun loving person and always with a smile and we miss him dearly."
Rosaire Levesque, another friend of Navaratnam's, says he saw Navaratnam at a Starbucks the day before he went missing. "He was all excited because he had a dog. You know, things were looking up for him."
After McArthur was arrested, Levesque went on, "the first thing I thought of was Skanda."
With files from Adrian Cheung, Natasha MacDonald-Dupuis, Kate McGillivray, Shanifa Nasser