Toronto police are offering up safety tips when it comes to online dating apps after several people went missing from the Church and Wellesley area.
Project Prism was formed in August to look into the disappearance of 44-year-old Selim Esen, who was last seen April 4 near Yonge and Bloor, and Andrew Kinsman, 49, who was last seen on June 26 in area of 71 Winchester Ave. area.
As well, Project Houston, an unconnected investigation, was formed to look into three other missing men from the same area.
Police said that since the start of the investigation, members of the community have been active participants, allowing officers to move the cases forward. But they have raised concerns about the use of dating apps.
To these concerns, police are giving the following advice:
1) Please get to know the person you are connecting with as well as possible. This might include asking for additional photos or social media profiles, or speaking on the phone before meeting.
2) When you decide to meet someone, even for a casual connection, do so in a safe space and consider telling a friend or family member where you are going. If this is not possible, consider leaving a note behind with that information.
3) If, at any time, the situation has left you feeling suspicious or uncomfortable, please consider reporting this information to police or Crime Stoppers.
Police said the investigations into these disappearances are continuing. However, as with any similar case, the longer these two men are missing the more concern there is that foul play may have been involved.
Kinsman’s sister told CityNews in August that she believed her brother was dead.
“My heart tells me he’s dead,” she said, speaking exclusively with CityNews. “He went missing June 26 and I believe he was murdered that day because his phone was turned off and his cat was left for two days without food and water and he would never leave his 17-year-old cat unattended.”
She believes Andrew was either killed accidentally or deliberately murdered.