Police are seeking more suspects in the slaying of Tim Bosma, the Hamilton man who was the subject of an intense search after he went missing after taking two men on a road test in the truck he was selling.
Det. Sgt. Matt Kavanagh of the Hamilton police told a news conference Tuesday afternoon that Bosma's remains had been found and were “burned beyond recognition.”
Police say they believe he was killed on the night he disappeared, but did not yet know exactly how he died or where.
"I don't know the motive at this time," Kavanagh said.
Bosma, 32, from the Hamilton community of Ancaster, went missing more than a week ago after he accompanied two men on a test drive of the truck he had posted for sale on Kijiji. Now, police are zeroing in on a farm near Cambridge, Ont., that they believe is linked to Bosma's death and searching for a second vehicle that followed the truck on the test drive.
- READ MORE: Tim Bosma remembered: father, husband, son and friend
At a press conference Tuesday afternoon, police said they intend to charge Dellen Millard, 27, of Toronto, with first-degree murder on Wednesday. Millard was initially charged with forcible confinement and theft over $5,000 after being arrested on Saturday.
Kavanagh wouldn't say if Millard is co-operating with police, and told reporters that police are still searching for at least two more suspects.
“Video evidence that we've now recovered shows that when Mr. Bosma's vehicle left his residence, there was a second vehicle following,” Kavanagh said. “We do not yet know how many people were in that second vehicle. Right now we're looking at at least three, possibly more.”
Kavanagh said police have not identified the other suspects, and that there is a concern for public safety.
“Certainly there is a fear of that,” Kavanagh said. “Look what he did the first time to Mr. Bosma. So yes, there is a fear. We're doing everything we can to identify this person and get him under arrest.”
Millard in custody
Millard's lawyer, Deepak Paradkar, said his client is shaken up and concerned, and his family is shocked by the charges against him.
The lawyer declined to offer specifics about their conversations, but he told CBC's Ivy Cuervo that Millard is entitled to be presumed innocent until proven guilty and intends to launch a defence in the case.
Millard is currently in custody and will remain there while he and his lawyer decide whether to seek bail, Paradkar said.
Investigation shifts to Kitchener-Waterloo
The investigation is now focused on a farm near Cambridge, Ont., owned by the Millard family. The Hamilton police forensic unit has set up a large tent at the rear of the property. Police are bringing buckets of material, possibly soil, outside the tent where they are passing it through large sifting screens, like the type used in archeological digs.
Other officers continue to search the property on foot. The property is partially a plowed field, and partially a wooded, swampy area.
A neighbour who requested anonymity told CBC News he had given police a photograph of what he called an incinerator on a trailer that he saw on the site on Friday. He said the place where police have set up a tent is one of the locations where he saw the incinerator. Police were asked about the mobile incinerator but would not comment.
Kavanagh said officers are currently executing a search warrant at the Millard Air hangar in Kitchener-Waterloo. “There are several vehicles in there, as well as planes,” Kavanagh said. “I'm not sure what operation he's doing in there. We plan to call in experts from our auto squad to have a look at the vehicles in there.”
Kavanagh said 120 officers are working on the case on a daily basis. He had originally stated that the attack on Bosma was “targeted,” but Hamilton police later clarified that to mean Bosma's truck was targeted.
“I think it's a terrible crime and that's why there's so much media attention,” Kavanagh said. “This affects us all. It affects the entire community. It affects me as well.”
Bosma's family and friends, as well as those who did not know him but hoped for his safe return, have begun to grieve their loss. The administrators of a Facebook group posted this message Tuesday morning:
"The agony in this house is indescribable. There will be no further updates from this page. My prayers are with this wonderful family."
Peter Lowe, a family friend, spoke to media outside the family's rural Ancaster home just after noon today. "The family has no statement to make. We just ask that you [media] give us the same respect you did last week. It's tough."
Bosma attended Ancaster Christian Reformed Church, and the church pastor was with the family in their home this morning.
Jo-Anne Le Mare, administrative assistant at the church, said as she cried, "You can imagine how we're all feeling right now. The minister is with the family right now. And the church is supporting them."
Kavanagh was the Hamilton police officer who broke the news to Bosma's family.
“It was a very hard job to notify the family of a loved one, and I'm sorry for the Bosma family,” Kavanagh said.
“I have no idea what they're experiencing right now.”
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Read the police chief's statement on the death of Tim Bosma: