The Detectives (2018) s03e04 Episode Script

Project Houston

It was quite shocking to people to realize what had been going on in the Gay Village in Toronto.
(REPORTER): Skanda Navaratnam was last seen in September, 2010, leaving Zipperz nightclub with an unknown man.
I think we found another one.
Someone's definitely targeting these guys.
Concern is growing in the Village tonight as police look for leads in the disappearance of 3 men.
What can you tell us about Chefmate50? Said he killed this guy and he killed that guy.
You believed him? Yeah, I believed him.
He scared the shit out of me.
This guy is dangerous.
You think we have a serial killer on our hands? - Bruce McArthur.
- I know that guy.
Bruce McArthur was arrested for choking somebody.
We let this guy go.
You wouldn't think that he could hurt a fly.
This all seems like some kind of sick fantasy.
What sort of monster do you think I am? The stuff in nightmares.
In 30 years in law enforcement, I've seen a lot of different types of crimes, but none that would quite compare to what I saw investigating this case.
(BIRDS CHIRPING) When this investigation really started rolling, it was Debbie Harris who was working in 51 Division in late 2012.
It was first thing in the morning when she got the call that would eventually lead to one of the most disturbing cases in Toronto history.
This message is for Detective Debbie Harris.
My name is Detective Roland Keller.
And I have very important information for you about a Toronto homicide.
I'm calling from Bern Police in Switzerland.
Switzerland? (LINE RINGING) Detective Keller.
Detective Keller, this is Detective Debbie Harris from Toronto Police.
You left me a message.
Thank you for returning my call.
I have information for you about a Toronto homicide, and I'm afraid it's really quite disturbing.
Is this about a particular homicide? Skandaraj Navaratnam.
I trust that you're familiar with the case, yes? Skanda Navaratnam.
Yes, very much so.
I was lead on his missing person's file 2 years ago.
We're still looking for him.
Skanda was originally from Sri Lanka and lived in the Gay Village.
He was reported missing about 6 days after somebody had last seen him leaving a bar.
There was a lot of work done between 2010 and 2012 trying to find him.
Are you saying he was murdered? Yes, I'm afraid so.
We have a very credible informant who believes Skanda has become the victim of a cannibal.
Excuse me? Did you say "cannibal"? Now that's a shocking story to be told.
This cannibal is in Switzerland? Actually, no.
He's in Toronto.
I know this sounds very strange, but our informant is never wrong.
I will send you documents, and you will understand.
Auf Wiedersehen.
Debbie worked the information until she felt it was credible.
That's when I was introduced to the case.
You think that Skanda was cannibalized? That's right, Hank, by someone operating in the Toronto area.
Is this for real? You could hear a pin drop in that room.
And I'm sure that Debbie felt very uncomfortable too in a room of seasoned homicide investigators, making this allegation that a cannibal was operating within the City of Toronto.
So, who's the informant that provided that tip? Bern police won't say.
They've assured me he's credible.
What makes him so credible? This isn't the first time he led police to a real-life cannibal.
A year ago, he led Slovakian police to this guy: Matej Curko.
They conducted an undercover operation, which ended in a shootout.
(SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE) The authorities in Slovakia had found multiple victims around the property that he had killed and eaten parts of these victims.
That added a lot of legitimacy to what Debbie was telling us.
The informant met Curko on a cannibal-fetish website called Zambian Meat.
He believes that he met another Curko there, a Canadian man known as Chefmate50, who claims to have killed and cannibalized Skanda on his farm north of Toronto.
I traced Chefmate50's IP address to James Alex Brunton, a retiree out of Peterborough.
Married, no priors.
He does a lot of volunteer work at the local hockey associations.
You think this guy cannibalized Skanda? That's why I'm here.
I need your help.
According to the informant, Brunton is searching for more victims.
If you're picturing what you think could possibly be a cannibal, you're not picturing Mr.
He comes across as a mild-mannered elderly gentleman.
You wouldn't think that he could hurt a fly.
Hank, can you take the lead on this? We'll have our tech-crime guys talk to Brunton.
We'll monitor his online conversations to make sure he's not hunting for a new victim.
Once you have some evidence that Skanda met with foul play, Homicide has to get involved in that investigation.
I guess we have to dive into this whole cannibal world, learn what we can.
(MEN AND WOMEN TALKING, INDISTINCT) I'm gonna need to learn how to navigate this site.
(PHONE RINGING) What is a longpig? Someone who wants to be eaten.
Somebody who wants to be eaten? Yeah, a "chef" is a cannibal and a an "iron chef" is a top-ranking cannibal.
- What's Brunton? - A chef.
This cannibalism forum, it was completely foreign to me.
I had no idea that something like this existed.
And what do you gotta do to become an iron chef? Prove you're worthy of a promotion by serving a meal to an iron chef.
That's how cannibals get promoted.
Disgusting behaviour.
It's just a bizarre, bizarre world.
It's all in the file here.
I suggest you learn the lingo as well.
The people on this site are suspicious of newcomers.
I'll set up a bunch of accounts under different names.
See if you can connect with Chefmate50, get him talking.
Okay, will do.
I remember sitting at a computer, digging into this online community.
(SIGHING) I still have flashes through my mind of some of these images.
They were talking about how they are going to kill somebody, how they're going to eviscerate somebody, how they're going to butcher somebody and prepare them to be consumed.
It messed with me.
I think it would mess with anybody who would see that.
How do we know what's real here? The trick became separating the fantasy from the actuality.
This all seems like some kind of sick fantasy to me.
How do we know Brunton's real? The informant is convinced he's real, just like Curko.
I need you to go talk to the informant and find out what makes him so sure.
As a cop, you really get socialized from day one into some really bizarre worlds.
That's him.
Saying to yourself: "I've seen it all, nothing can shock me".
And then something like this comes along.
We had Debbie fly to Switzerland to interview this informant.
My name is Markus Dubach.
Thank you for coming forward with the information on Chefmate50.
We had no idea this network of cannibals even existed in Canada.
Neither did I before I go looking.
Why did you look? About, uh 2 years ago, I suffered deep depression.
Um I wanted to kill myself.
As foolish as it sounds, um, I believed, uh, sacrificing myself to a cannibal would, uh (CHUCKLING SOFTLY) give my life a greater meaning.
That's when I found Zambian Meat.
Dubach was struggling with depression.
And he somehow got some solace out of participating in this website and living a fantasy.
We've been looking through that website.
It's hard to tell what's real and what isn't.
Much of the site is indeed a fantasy.
But Curko wasn't, the Slovakian cannibal.
Matej Curko was very real.
What made you think he was genuine? He used very sophisticated software so authorities could not track our conversations.
And, uh, after I agreed to meet with him, he gave me very precise directions to a spot in the forest where he will, uh (INHALING DEEPLY) torture and kill me.
And then, uh he would carve me and, uh, use special chemicals to dispose of the remaining parts.
It definitely went further than he wanted it to go to the point where he'd contacted Swiss authorities.
Did Chefmate remind you of Curko? It was as if I was talking to the same person.
He said he would pay for my plane ticket to Toronto.
He told me how to avoid security cameras at the airport.
Uh, he asked that I must bring my computer so he can erase all my accounts.
And he said, um, we would go to his farm, where he will, uh (INHALING DEEPLY) he would make me disappear.
How did this link to Skanda? He told me he consumed human flesh recently, so I looked it up.
But we were told that he admitted it to you.
Chefmate told me, uh he had eaten someone in Toronto.
He also said that he preferred homosexuals.
So, with this, I went online to search for gay men missing in Toronto, and Skandaraj was the first result.
I believed right away it was him.
So, you're not certain it's Skanda.
I believe you would know better than me, uh, detective.
In reality, all Dubach had was an online confession from Brunton to killing a brown-skinned gay male from Toronto's Gay Village.
We weren't sure that it was Skanda Navaratnam that we were talking about here.
So once Debbie came back to Toronto with that information, we opened it up and said: "Let's see if anyone else fits that profile".
"And let's look at any missing males from 2010 to 2012, linked to the Gay Village who are either brown skinned or could be perceived as being brown skinned".
All right, we just spoke with this guy.
He's not missing.
Said he went, uh, back to Pakistan, left his wife and didn't tell her.
Majeed Kayhan, popular guy around the Village.
Last seen at a family wedding.
Reported missing by his son 2 months ago, still missing.
He was reported missing 11 days after he actually was last seen.
And that really puts the investigators behind the eight ball.
And you're not going to find surveillance video 11 days after somebody's last seen.
Two possible victims.
Hey! I think we found another one.
Abdulbasir Faizi, reported missing in 2010, last seen leaving the Village.
His car was found a few days later on Moore Avenue in Toronto.
I pass that area every day on my way to work.
- I've never heard of this.
- That's just it.
Faizi's family reported him missing, but they live in Mississauga, not Toronto.
So, police in Mississauga took on the case, even though he was last seen in the Village.
Abdulbasir Faizi lived in Mississauga, to the west of Toronto, which is another jurisdiction.
He was a closeted gay male, who we could associate to the Village through subsequent police interviews.
Faizi's car was found parked right here.
They canvassed door to door in this entire area.
They brought in the K9 unit, searched through this ravine and the cemetery here.
A couple of weeks later, several witnesses reported seeing him back in the Village.
Where? The Black Eagle, one of the bathhouses.
But they never found him? - That makes 3 possible victims.
- Are there any more? That's all.
Everyone else has been accounted for.
So, any one of these men could have been Brunton's victim.
We now had not one, but 3 men, all of similar ethnic appearance, all missing from the Gay Village in Toronto.
You think that's a coincidence? I don't believe in coincidences, Hank.
I think that's a problem.
That's a big problem.
Now that we've established that there are 3 missing men that could potentially be victims of Mr.
Brunton's we have to put surveillance on him.
We put a tracker on his vehicle.
We have to keep an eye on him and his movements and, hopefully, gather more evidence to support our investigation.
(SIGHING) (ENGINE STARTING) All three of these individuals were from South Asian countries.
And they are marginalized as being gay males.
They are marginalized as being visible minorities.
These were all victims selected to avoid detection and becoming vulnerable to a predator who takes advantage of that.
That made me angry.
Someone's definitely targeting these guys.
The problem is we can't prove it.
We've got no bodies.
We don't even have proof of a crime.
Our prevalent theory is: Have all of these individuals fallen prey to a cannibal? So, we have to start a task force, get to the bottom of it.
Are we suggesting Brunton is behind all 3 of their disappearances? All we know for sure is that 3 men from the Village have gone missing under suspicious circumstances.
But we also know Brunton's involvement in the cannibal community suggests he could be behind this.
There's very little in police records on Mr.
We knew where he lived.
We knew what his family situation was.
We knew he was involved with a hockey league in the Peterborough area.
Have you connected with him on the cannibal website yet? Yeah.
We're just getting to know each other.
He's one strange dude.
Brunton was making claims that he was looking for a willing participant who wanted to be killed and cannibalized, and then described to him: "Okay, here's how I'm going to kill you.
And here's how I'm going to cannibalize you.
And here's the parts of your body that I'm going to eat first".
It's a big shock and a real eye-opener as to what is actually going on in that world.
We'd be best to get into his computer.
Okay, let's get a warrant to clone it.
If he's behind this, then we're gonna have to stop him fast.
And we found a timeframe when Mr.
Brunton was out of the house.
We effected the entry to clone his computer.
It was very creepy to walk into that house, not knowing what you were going to find.
Just knowing about what this guy has done in that world of the dark web and the cannibalism fetish, it's extremely disturbing.
How are we doing? We retrieved millions of files.
I'm already seeing links to our missing men.
The content of the computer is revealing material which is disturbing and adds some credence to the cannibalism theory.
I managed to retrieve artefacts from Brunton's computer of Faizi and Skanda.
They're file fragments.
Whenever you surf the Internet, all the sites you visit leave bits of data on your computer's hard drive, even if you erase the history.
Now, in this case, we have artefacts that show Brunton, Faizi and Skanda were all members of a dating site that connect older men with younger ones.
So, Brunton was in contact with them? Not necessarily.
Brunton could have gotten these artefacts from simply looking at their profiles.
Skanda Navaratnam and Mr.
Brunton had been on the same dating website.
And, perhaps, a picture of Skanda was saved as a thumbnail on the computer.
I would call them innocuous links, but links nonetheless.
His search history is interesting.
Seems the day after Skanda went missing, Brunton was searching for cannibal recipes and non-consensual torture.
That's kind of disturbing.
But it doesn't even give me reasonable and probable grounds to go out and arrest him based on what we had.
But if definitely gave us enough where we said: "We have to investigate this and see what else we can gather".
- What's that? - It's a video file Brunton deleted a few years ago.
I'm trying to rebuild it to see what it is.
What about his activity on Zambian Meat? His activity on the site goes back several years.
He spends a lot of time bragging that he's an old hand at this.
I found a bunch of exchanges where he's trying to convince a slave to come to Toronto to be eaten.
Even offers to pay airfare.
Says he'll take them to his farm, where no one will find out.
And he reminds them to bring their computer so he can delete their accounts.
That's what the informant told us.
Well, did anyone accept the offer? All I know is he claims to be working with a Nathan, but I haven't been able to figure out who he is yet.
Nathan? - An accomplice? - Looks like it.
We became very interested in trying to figure out who this Nathan was.
You're potentially dealing with a cannibal ring, outlandish, bizarre behaviour taking place in your own backyard.
Is that his farm? Apparently.
He says it's near Bancroft.
Bancroft? Skanda's cell phone pinged off a tower between Peterborough and Bancroft just a few days before he went missing.
You know where those images were taken? No, the digital info was wiped clean.
I mean, this guy knows how to cover his tracks.
Brunton talked about a farm that he had access to.
He talked about a cabin he had access to.
He said, uh, we would go to his farm, where he would make me disappear.
We had no bodies.
We couldn't say any of these men had been murdered, because we had no evidence they had been murdered.
Well, we need to locate that farm.
I can run the pictures through photo-mapping software, put together a list of possible locations.
Do it.
You can imagine we're talking about Northern Ontario here, and how many farms and how many cabins there are.
(BIRDS CHIRPING) I had some officers and provided them with photographs and geographical areas.
We would drive around, trying to find that farm.
Even if you narrow it down to a cabin in the Bancroft area, that's still time-consuming manual work.
We were literally looking for a needle in a haystack.
And we didn't even know if there was a needle to find.
We also had a photograph of the interior of a cabin that we had recovered from a computer, and we were trying to identify that.
We found a dungeon that somebody had dug out underneath the farm.
But one of the more bizarre was a tree in the middle of the woods.
We're thinking these might be boots of victims.
And we did a forensic examination, but never found anything.
There was no shortage of strange, creepy moments like that.
After weeks and months of searching, we had nothing.
Meanwhile, we still do have constant surveillance on Mr.
We follow him to a gay, male strip club in Downtown Toronto.
(POP PLAYING IN DISTANCE) (POP PLAYING ON PA) We had expected him to hook up or target a brown-skinned male.
The potential of this whole scenario is very terrifying.
I got the report back from the undercover team.
We had surveillance on Mr.
We followed him to a male strip club.
And he ended up hooking up with a young male in the club.
And they make arrangements to meet at a hotel.
But he never showed, so Brunton left.
- What did he look like? - He was white, blond, about 19.
That doesn't really fit with our missing men, does it? We had a brown-skinned undercover operator at this club.
And he went for a young, white-skinned male.
It wasn't what we were expecting, so it did throw us off.
- Hank.
- Yeah.
Coffey found something on Brunton's computer.
Come on.
Hey! Remember that deleted video file I was trying to rebuild? (BOYS TALKING IN DISTANCE, INDISTINCT) (BRUNTON): I'm leaving you boys some extra towels by the lockers.
We found video of teenage boys in a hockey locker room.
They were in a state of undress in the video.
And it was obvious that they were not aware that they were being filmed.
- How old are those boys? - Mid-to-late teens.
It just made me angry.
(BOYS TALKING IN VIDEO, INDISTINCT) Without hesitation, that's child pornography.
- What hockey team is that? - It's in Peterborough.
Call the Peterborough police, see if they recognize any of the hockey players.
We have to make sure that he was the one holding the camera.
And see if anyone remembers seeing Brunton in the locker room that day.
There's something else.
Brunton's been communicating with an underage kid.
He's been sending him graphic photos.
I traced the IP address to a kid named Byron Duval in Colorado.
He and Brunton have been talking for about 4 years, and their conversations are pretty graphic.
This contract saying that Duval will be tortured then eaten by Brunton when he turns 18.
I found it on Brunton's computer.
The contract very graphically described the method of being killed and butchered and prepared and eaten upon turning the age of 18.
It was one of the most disturbing documents any one of us had ever read.
We need to speak to him.
We've had the FBI track him down in Colorado.
- Yeah.
What can you tell us about Chefmate50? We, uh, we found this contract, signed by you.
It's reprehensible.
How many of us have kids who are in their bedrooms on the Internet being groomed like this and being spoken to like this? Disgusting behaviour, really.
Now tell the truth, son.
You're not in any kind of trouble.
We just want to know why you signed it.
Mmm, uh, it was a joke.
I was 14 when we connected, and I thought it would be cool talking to a cannibal.
How old are you now? I just turned 18.
So, you know what happens when you turn 18, according to this contract? Did you plan on going through with that? No, of course not, no.
I just I don't know what I was thinking.
I was getting scared on my birthday, 'cause Chefmate was sending me messages reminding me that we signed the contract, and he wanted me to keep my end of the deal.
And you believed him? Yeah, I believed him.
He's a real cannibal, and he scared the shit out of me.
If you were scared of him, why did you stay in touch with him? The money.
He asked me to email pictures of myself.
What kind of pictures were those? What kind do you think they were? Naked pictures.
He was a perv.
I sent them for free until I smartened up and started charging him.
Do you remember him ever mentioning any other victims? Yeah, it was all the time.
Said he killed this guy and he killed that guy and that he ate them at his farm.
Did he happen to mention any names? Uh The only name I can remember is Nathan.
Nathan? Yeah, said they'd come to Colorado together so they could have their way with me.
(CHUCKLING SOFTLY) It freaked me out.
He's a victim.
That's not something that you're going to forget.
That's scarring for your entire life.
And now we really needed to find out who Nathan was.
- Hey! - Hey.
I spoke with Peterborough Police.
They identified some of the players in the video.
We also identified Brunton as the one behind the camera.
He definitely made the video.
We have got enough to charge him.
Not yet.
He's a danger, Hank.
We need him off the streets.
No, I agree, but if we do that, we may never find our missing men.
Are we still talking to him on Zambian Meat? Yes, he thinks one of our guys is a European slave that wants to be eaten.
Then we set up a meeting between Brunton and our slave.
Hopefully, he'll lead us straight back to the farm.
We'd be putting our undercover operative in serious danger.
If anything goes wrong, we take him down right away.
Brunton is dangerous.
I don't want him hurting anybody just to further the investigation, but you still have 3 missing people.
And what if Brunton doesn't take the bait? We'll just arrest him for child pornography, get him off the streets.
We need to see if Mr.
Brunton will attempt to pick up a willing victim and take him to his farm, murder them, butcher them, cannibalize them.
The logistics of pulling off something like this is weeks and weeks of work.
Our undercover operative posing as a slave had made arrangements with Mr.
Brunton that he was going to fly into Toronto Airport, and Mr.
Brunton was going to pick him up and take him to his cabin and have sex with him, and then kill him and eat him.
This is our last shot.
Are we going to get some answers as to what's happened to these missing men? (WOMAN TALKING ON PA, INDISTINCT) I'm at the international arrivals.
I'll message Brunton I've landed.
Lots of fear, lots of worry, lots of angst.
We can't put anybody's life at risk.
We have assets in place around the airport and surveillance on his house.
He's on the move.
I remember hearing over the radio: "Okay, he's into his car, and he's on his way".
And it was: "Oh my God! It's actually happening.
He's going to come down to the airport".
Listen, don't take any chances.
If you feel you're life's at risk, then make the arrest.
Copy that.
We have multiple surveillance teams, including aerial surveillance.
Because you cannot lose that car under any circumstances.
Debbie, how far are you from the airport? I'd say around 15 minutes.
- We'd be about 15 minutes out.
- Copy that.
I'll let you know once I have eyes on him.
It's a huge build-up of adrenaline and anticipation, waiting to see what happens next.
Wait, what happened? He got part of the way down the 401, pulled off the highway.
Is he calling his accomplice in the airport? You don't know what's going on.
Hank, he stopped by the side of the road.
I'm not sure why.
- Did he see you? - No.
Stay put.
Don't move.
Hey, Farid! Brunton just turned back.
I want you to call him now and ask him how long before he arrives.
Copy that.
He turned back.
I think he's gone home.
Back home, why? Okay, so, he's heading back up to Peterborough.
I'm not going to say I was angry about it.
I don't think that was the reaction that I had.
You know at the end of the day that there's going to be charges laid.
Okay, Debbie, let's bring him in.
(SIGHING) I'm leaving you boys some extra towels by the lockers.
(BOYS TALKING IN VIDEO, INDISTINCT) We found it on your computer.
A lot of people trusted you in Peterborough.
Not sure how they're gonna feel when they find this out.
That that's an old video.
I forgot I even had it.
Did you molest any of the hockey players? Of course not! What sort of monster do you think I am? It's a little more recent.
Would you prefer we called you Chefmate50? - Look, I didn't hurt anybody.
- You didn't hurt anyone? What about the contract you had with Byron? He thought you were gonna come down there on his 18th birthday and carve him up.
This whole cannibal thing, it it's like fantasy, role playing, you know.
It it's like a big Halloween party.
I never killed or ate anybody.
He's a little bit unnerving with a high-pitched voice and a bit of a gaze to him when he's looking at you that will certainly make you a little bit uncomfortable.
W-what makes you think I had anything to do with these men? Do you know who they are? Well, I I've seen their posters in the Village.
He claimed he didn't know Majeed Kayhan or Basir Faizi, but he did recognize Skanda Navaratnam from a nightclub in the Gay Village.
I saw him a few times at Remington's.
Nice enough guy.
Not my type.
And I believe Brunton was being relatively truthful for most of the interview.
So, who's Nathan? Nobody, just a a stripper I I knew from Remington's, sort of a messed up kid.
And I haven't seen him for a long while.
It certainly was new information that Nathan is more than just a figment of his imagination.
And it certainly piques our interest into identifying who Nathan really is.
A Peterborough man is facing dozens of child porn and sexual assault charges after a coordinated bust between Peterborough and Toronto Police.
65-year-old James Alex Brunton was arrested yesterday.
Police say he was active in Peterborough's minor hockey community.
(REPORTER): Brunton pleaded guilty to several counts of possessing, making and distributing child pornography.
We conducted a forensics examination of Brunton's residence and never found any trace of any of the missing men or evidence to suggest that Mr.
Brunton had anything to do with the disappearance of any of these men.
Is Brunton a cannibal? No.
Brunton is an individual who has a fetish for cannibalism and exploits that fetish online for his own gratification.
It's a win in getting Mr.
Brunton in custody.
You know he's never going to be allowed near a locker room again in his life.
And so, you're protecting the victims and potential victims.
But you still have 3 missing people.
You think we have a serial killer on our hands? It's possible.
But right now, we just have to follow the evidence.
Hey, guys! I found another person connected to two of our men.
What do we know about him? He goes by Silverfoxx51.
What we discovered forever changed the City of Toronto.

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