Over 200 people gathered at a community town hall Tuesday to discuss the disappearance of two men who were known to frequent the Church and Wellesley area.
The disappearances of 49-year-old Andrew Kinsman at the end of June and 44-year-old Selim Esen in April have set off waves of concern in the community and have led to speculation the incidents may be connected to past unsolved missing-persons cases.
Family, friends and colleagues of the missing men as well as a deacon from the Metropolitan Community Church spoke at the town hall, and there were tips provided for those concerned for their personal safety.
"There's a lot of the apps that you can permanently share your GPS location with," event organizer Greg Downer said. "If someone were to go missing, until the phone gets shut off or the battery dies, at least GPS wise we'd be able to track where that person is."
Toronto police have opened up a special task force to look into the disappearances of Kinsman and Esen and have expressed gratitude to the LGBT community for holding the town hall meeting.
"It shows that they are mobilized. There is no doubt in my mind that a successful investigation will include their support," 51 Division Unit Commander Tony Riviere said. "We need their help. We've been fortunate enough to receive their help to date. As we put this task force together we're appealing for their continued support.
Ted Healey, a roommate, coworker and friend of Kinsman for 20 years, was at the meeting, which was held at The 519 community centre Tuesday. He noted that although he wishes the investigation could move more quickly, he's happy with the progress that the police have made so far.
"I'm glad that the police have combined cases and put more police on the actual investigation," Healey said. "I just want a little bit of hope and I got it."