May 31, 2012 / 5:28 PM / 5 years ago

Interpol seeks Canadian man in dismemberment murder

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Interpol issued an international arrest warrant on Thursday for a Canadian man suspected of dismembering a male murder victim and mailing body parts to political parties as Canadian police tried to determine if he was responsible for a grisly online video of a beheading.

Montreal police said they believe the suspect, Luka Rocco Magnotta, has fled Canada as they continued to scour his blood-soaked apartment in the city. Police have said a janitor found a headless, limbless torso stuffed into a suitcase in an alley behind the building.

Interpol issued its warrant for Magnotta, 29, a native of the Toronto area who had been living in Montreal. Local police would not confirm a report in the Journal de Montreal newspaper that Magnotta flew to Europe on Saturday using a false name.

“We believe he is out of the country,” said Montreal police spokesman Ian Lafreniere.

Police have said Magnotta knew his victim, like him a white male, but gave no indication as to a motive. Magnotta also used the names Eric Clinton Newman and Vladimir Romanov, police said.

Montreal police said they were trying to determine whether Magnotta was responsible for a “snuff” video showing a grisly murder that had been posted on an Internet site specializing in gore. Lafreniere said the video, which police wanted removed from the Internet, showed a beheading and other “unimaginable” horrors.

“All we have found is what’s on the Web,” Lafreniere told Montreal reporters.

“A lot of people will be very shocked by what they’ve seen,” Lafreniere said, referring to the video.

Lafreniere said Magnotta had no criminal record.

The first clue in the case came on Tuesday when the governing Conservative Party headquarters in Ottawa received a severed left foot in the mail. Ottawa police then intercepted another package addressed to the Liberal Party containing a severed left hand.

Police said they believe the torso found near his apartment belongs to the same victim as the mailed body parts, and say some parts are still missing.

Investigators combed through Magnotta’s abandoned Montreal apartment on Wednesday. One senior officer said it was the worst crime scene his force had ever seen. Canadian media reports described a bloody mattress and pools of blood on the floor and in the refrigerator.

Magnotta has extensive online references - some posted by him and some by others - that include modeling photos and a detailed blog entry on “how to vanish.”

Media reports cited police officials as saying Magnotta once dated Karla Homolka, notorious for her involvement in a Canadian serial murder case. Magnotta denied any connection to Homolka in a 2007 television interview, saying someone started the rumor to ruin his reputation.

Homolka and her partner Paul Bernardo were arrested in 1993 for the rape and murder of three girls, one of them Homolka’s sister. Bernardo was sentenced to life in prison. Homolka struck a deal with prosecutors for a reduced sentence and is now out of jail.

Reporting By Louise Egan; Editing by Janet Guttsman and Will Dunham

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