Alleged McArthur victim Selim Esen remembered in funeral service

Family and friends of Selim Esen, a man allegedly murdered by Bruce McArthur, gathered Friday to remember his life.

Friday's funeral and ceremony brought much needed closure, brother says

Selim Esen was one of eight men police believe was murdered by alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur.

Family and friends of Selim Esen, a man allegedly murdered by Bruce McArthur, gathered Friday to remember his life at a funeral service and a ceremony later in the evening. 

Esen's brother Ferhat Cinar came to Toronto from the U.K. with his brother, wife and two children for Friday's services and said the services brought much-needed closure. 

"It's been since last January that we've been waiting to bring it to a proper closure, so this today has been that closure," Cinar said. 

He added that although the situation around his brother's death has been difficult and very sad, he's able to take comfort in hearing from Esen's friends. 

Selim Esen's brother Ferhat Cinar says Friday's services brought much-needed closure. (CBC)

"What at least makes me feel good [is] to hear the positive stories from his friends, [heart] warming stories from his friends — his braveness, his courage to meet new people, to settle in a new life, so that makes me feel better," he added.

Esen was last seen alive on the evening of April 15, 2017, in the area of Bloor Street East and Ted Rogers Way. He was 44. 

Esen's life largely unknown

His life had remained largely unknown despite McArthur, an alleged serial killer, dominating headlines for months. 

In June, Cinar and Esen's other brother Omer Esen offered rare glimpses into his life. They said as a gay man, Esen wasn't happy living in his native Turkey. 

Selim Esen was reported missing from the Church and Wellesley area. (Toronto Police Service/Canadian Press)

"He was very friendly, kind hearted, open, independent-minded and curious, passionate about learning new things, gardening, exploring new places and meeting new people," his brothers said. "His tender and kind humanity came before everything else."

Esen's brothers said he was born in Istanbul and grew up in Ankara, where he worked to help supplement his family's income while earning a university degree. 

He also spent several years in Australia before he made his way to Canada in 2013. His brothers say he made the trip with the intent of marrying a boyfriend, which he eventually did, though the relationship did not last. 

Police response to disappearances criticized 

Esen's brothers were previously in Toronto to attend a court hearing for McArthur and echoed some of the criticisms some in the LGBT community have levelled at Toronto police in the wake of McArthur's arrest, including a push for a review of how police address missing persons reports. 

Critics of police handling of the case, and those that preceded it, allege that investigators downplayed concerns within the community that multiple disappearances were connected. 

McArthur, 66, a self-employed landscaper, now faces eight counts of first-degree murder and is expected to appear in person in court on Oct. 22

The remains of seven men were recovered from planters at a property where McArthur had worked in the months following his arrest last January.

McArthur is also accused of killing these eight men. Top row, from left to right, Skandaraj Navaratnam, 40, Andrew Kinsman, 49, Selim Esen, 44, and Abdulbasir Faizi, 44. Bottom row, from left to right: Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam, 37, Dean Lisowick, 47, Soroush Mahmudi, 50, and Majeed Kayhan, 58. (Toronto Police Service/CBC)

In addition to Esen, McArthur is accused of killing Skandaraj Navaratnam, 40, Andrew Kinsman, 49, Abdulbasir Faizi, 44, Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam, 37, Dean Lisowick, 47, Soroush Mahmudi, 50, and Majeed Kayhan, 58.

Police later found the remains of the eighth alleged victim in a ravine behind the same property in midtown Toronto.

The lead detective, Insp. Hank Idsinga, has said he doesn't believe there are any more victims.

With files from Lisa Xing and The Canadian Press