DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
NORTH DURHAM: After more than four years of searching, Toronto Police made an arrest in connection to the death of Uxbridge native Chris Skinner last week.
On Wednesday, Nov. 6, Toronto Police arrested 23-year-old Agustin Caruso of Etobicoke and charged him with second-degree murder in the 2009 slaying of the 27-year-old Uxbridge native and Port Perry HS graduate.
On the night of his death, Skinner was walking home from Toronto’s Entertainment District following a celebration for his sister’s birthday at around 3 a.m., when he was beaten and then run over on Adelaide St., and left for dead.
"It’s a bittersweet day," Det.-Sgt. Stacy Gallant said during a press conference on Thursday, Nov. 7. He also acknowledged the tireless work of investigators, hundreds of interviews and numerous tips from Crime Stoppers that ultimately led to the arrest of the alleged driver of the SUV that ran over Mr. Skinner on Oct. 18. 2009, causing his untimely death.
Last month, on the fourth anniversary of his death, Toronto Police were joined by Skinner’s family when they announced that they had a new lead in the case, and had identified the black SUV used in the murder.
At Wednesday’s press conference, Gallant added that the black Ford Explorer that police believe was the murder weapon in the case was seized by police earlier this year, and was not in the accused’s possession at the time of his arrest.
Det.-Sgt. Gallant added that there were six people in the SUV on the night of Skinner’s death, and vowed that those involved in the attack or helped those responsible elude police will eventually be brought to justice, and believes that at least two more arrests will be made in the case.
While he was glad to be able to bring news of the arrest to Skinner’s family - who were also present at the press conference - Gallant believes that the arrest should have come much sooner.
"I am disappointed to say that in the four years of this investigation that none of the individuals that did not participate in any way in the death of Chris Skinner chose to come forward on their own," he said.
"They instead kept this information to themselves and lived with it for the past four years."
Skinner’s parents expressed relief knowing that the man accused in the death of the son is "off the streets." His mother Ellen also noted disappointment with no one involved having come forward with information about the crime.
"It’s horrible and they have to live with that for the rest of their lives," she said.
Toronto Police had offered a $50,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case, while the Skinner family had offered an additional $100,000 for information leading to the arrest of their son’s killers.
Ultimately, the reward was not collected, and Mrs. Skinner said that the money will be donated to charity.
The accused was remanded in police custody until his next appearance on Monday, Dec. 2.
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