Toronto police are setting up a special task force to look into the disappearances of two gay men.
Selim Esen, 44, was last seen on April 14, 2017, while Andrew Kinsman, 49, has been missing since June 26.
Though police are not stating that there is a connection between the two missing men, they are dedicating a team of officers whose sole job will be to try and track them down.
Both men were last seen in Toronto’s downtown east, Esen at Bloor Street East and Ted Rogers Way, and Kinsman at Winchester and Metcalfe streets.
Police are treating both of the disappearances as suspicious and described it as “out of character for both.”
Between 2010 and 2012, three gay men who frequented the Church-Wellesley Village — Skandaraj Navaratnam, Abdulbasir Faizi and Majeed Kayhan — also went missing. Toronto police created a task force known as “Project Houston” to try and track down the men, but nothing was found.
At this point, Toronto police are not connecting the three missing men with Esen or Kinsman.
“Detailed investigation and evidence obtained, thus far, in the course of both investigations, has not confirmed a link although, as part of the police investigation, this is being considered,” police said in a public statement.
In a statement on Facebook attributed to Detective Sergeant Michael Richmond, Toronto police attempted to assuage any concerns that the disappearances aren’t being taken seriously.
“I can advise you that there is a much higher proportion of officers within our division who are members of the LGBTQ2 community than in other units I have worked.”
On Aug 1, LGBT community members will host a town hall at The 519 community centre to discuss the issue of missing LGBT people. Toronto police will be present to answer questions from the public.