A Toronto gay man has been missing since Sept 6, and his friends and police are asking anyone who may have information to come forward.
Skanda Navaratnam, 40, was last seen leaving Zipperz around 2am on Sept 6. He is described in a Toronto Police Service news release as “brown, 5’8″, thin build, black hair, brown eyes with a black goatee.”
Navaratnam spent the afternoon of Sept 5 with his friend Jean-Guy Cloutier.
“Every Sunday afternoon, we would go to the BBQ [at the Black Eagle],” says Cloutier. “He was happy, he was fine.”
Cloutier didn’t join Navaratnam at Zipperz that evening, but he says friends saw him there.
Another friend, Jody Becker, says that Navaratnam is a regular at Zipperz, Pegasus and the Black Eagle. “Apparently he went to Zipperz alone,” she says. “He was just bopping around and talking with people that he knew. There was no fight or altercation, and he didn’t seem to leave angry or anything. He was seen leaving Zipperz alone.”
On Sept 20, Navaratnam’s friends began postering the Church-Wellesley and Cabbagetown areas with signs that read: “Missing: have you seen this man?” They have also started a Facebook page dedicated to finding him.
Cloutier says Navaratnam lives in Cabbagetown, where he helps an older man with chores and errands. Cloutier went to the house on Sept 21 to look around, but he says nothing looked out of the ordinary. Navaratnam has another home on Broadview Ave across from Riverdale Park, but he does not spend much time there, says Cloutier.
Navaratnam often escapes to Cloutier’s cabin in Bancroft, but Cloutier says he checked the property over the weekend and Navaratnam was not there.
“We have contact almost every single day. He’s like my little brother,” says Cloutier, who notes that Navaratnam has no family members in Canada. Navaratnam’s brother in Dubai has not heard from him.
Cloutier says there was one time, two years ago, when he didn’t hear from Navaratnam for four days. When Navaratnam returned, the two friends made a pact: if they ever couldn’t reach other after three days, they should be worried.
Both Cloutier and Becker speak about how Navaratnam got a dog in the past two months and how the animal was his “pride and joy.” Navaratnam took the dog everywhere, but the animal was left behind without someone to care for it, says Cloutier.
“Even if somebody is pissed off at the whole world, and they want to go disappear, you take your dog,” says Becker. “That’s your only friend when you’re mad at the world. But he wasn’t in a state of mind like that. It’s out of character for him.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-5100, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), or online at www.222tips.com.