June 1, 2012 / 11:37 AM / 5 years ago

Canada dismemberment suspect may be in France: source

Writing on the wall of a closet in the apartment where Luka Rocco Magnotta, 29, also known as Eric Clinton Newman and Vladimir Romanov, lived in, in Montreal May 31, 2012.Robert J. Galbraith

PARIS (Reuters) - A Canadian suspected of dismembering a man in Montreal, filming the murder and then mailing body parts to political parties in Ottawa may now be in France, where police are conducting a search, a police source told Reuters on Friday.

Luka Rocco Magnotta, 29, faces first degree murder charges in connection with the grisly videotaped death of 32-year-old Chinese student Jun Lin.

Montreal police said Magnotta and Jun both featured in the graphic video, which was posted on a Canadian Internet site that specializes in gore. Police were trying to have the video removed from the site.

"In a homicide case like this having images of the crime is very rare," said Montreal police spokesman Ian Lafreniere.

"Media around the world have circulated his (Magnotta's) photograph, the media have been talking about this ... so I'm very hopeful that all that assistance will help us put him behind bars," he told reporters.

The French police source said French authorities were informed on Thursday that Magnotta had bought a plane ticket for Paris. Interpol issued an international arrest warrant the same day, and a "Red Notice" with Magnotta's unsmiling mug shot is at the top of the Interpol home page. www.interpol.int/

The source said Magnotta had spent time in France in 2010.

Montreal police formally identified the victim on Friday and said he had died on May 24 or May 25.

Magnotta, who has used at least three different names, caught a plane from Montreal for Europe on May 26, but Lafreiniere did not say where he had flown to and said it was possible he had returned to Canada under a different name.

He said Lin, who was last seen alive on May 24, knew Magnotta, a native of the Toronto area who had been living in Montreal.

Magnotta has left a bizarre Internet trail as an alleged kitten-killer and bisexual porn star.

A blog posting authored by someone with the same name gives detailed advice for a person who wants to disappear, including comments on how to mislead people who are looking for you.

In a crime scene that Montreal police say is the worst they have ever seen, Magnotta's Montreal apartment included a bloody mattress and pools of blood on the floor and in the refrigerator.

Montreal police said a janitor found a torso with no head or limbs in a suitcase in an alley behind the building.

Authorities believe that a decomposing foot mailed to the headquarters of the governing Conservative Party in Ottawa on Tuesday and a hand found inside a package at a postal depot are parts of the same person.

Other body parts are still missing.

Reporting by Gerard Bon and Nicolas Bertin in Paris, and David Ljunggren in Ottawa; Writing by Alexandria Sage; Editing by Janet Guttsman and Andrew Hay

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