June 6, 2012 / 1:09 AM / 6 years ago

Police link Vancouver body parts to Montreal murder

(Reuters) - Canadian police said on Wednesday a severed hand and foot found in Vancouver are likely linked to the videotaped murder, dismemberment and cannibalism that led to the arrest of a suspect in Germany this week.

Luka Rocco Magnotta appears on Interpol's website on June 5, 2012. The Canadian man wanted in his homeland on suspicion of killing and dismembering a student, then posting a video of the crime online, says he will not fight extradition from Germany where he was arrested, German authorities said on June 5. Police arrested the porn actor in a Berlin Internet cafe on June 4. He faces first-degree murder charges in Canada over the killing of Chinese student Jun Lin, 32, in Montreal. REUTERS/Interpol/Handout

Packages containing the body parts were delivered by mail to two elementary schools in the Pacific port city on Tuesday.

“We have all the reasons to believe it’s linked to our investigation,” Montreal police spokesman Ian Lafreniere told reporters in response to a question about whether the hand and foot belonged to Montreal murder victim Jun Lin, 32.

“(They are) the same body parts that we were looking for ... (They were) shipped from Montreal.”

But he said it would take DNA tests to be “100 percent sure” of that.

Five body parts - two hands, two feet and a torso - have been found in three Canadian cities over the past week in the gruesome case that includes a disturbing online video that depicts the crime.

The head is still missing. Police are trying to determine whether it too could be in the mail.

Canadian Luka Rocco Magnotta, 29, faces charges of first-degree murder, indignities to a body, publishing and mailing obscene matter, and harassing Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. He is in custody in Berlin and has said he won’t fight extradition to Canada.

He could be returned to Canada in “a matter of weeks,” Public Safety Minister Vic Toews told reporters.

Police have said the torso, found in an alleyway near Magnotta’s Montreal apartment, and one hand and foot mailed to political parties in Ottawa on May 29, are linked to the killing of Lin, a Chinese student at Montreal’s Concordia University.

But the two parcels sent to Vancouver arrived only on Tuesday and there has been no formal identification yet.

Police do not believe the act targeted any particular student or staff member at the institutions - one a private boy’s school and both in upscale neighborhoods.


Magnotta likely committed the crime alone but may have had help fleeing afterwards, police said, after new videos of the suspect were posted online on Wednesday.

“It looked like him and looked like it was done after the homicide,” Lafreniere said of the videos. “This is part of the investigation, finding out if someone was trying to help him while he was running.”

Magnotta has an online following of “fans and amateurs,” Lafreniere said.

There is no indication of a motive for the crimes and police have said only that Magnotta and the victim knew each other.

Police believe an earlier video, posted on a website that specializes in gory footage, is authentic. It showed a man stabbing his victim repeatedly and then cutting off the arms, legs and head before eating part of the body.

“I encourage nobody to watch this video. It is a video that was extremely sordid,” Montreal organized crime squad chief Denis Mainville told reporters.

Magnotta, 29, has an extensive Internet trail as a gay escort, a bisexual porn star and alleged kitten killer. He was arrested in a Berlin Internet cafe on Monday after an international manhunt.

He had been reading articles online about the hunt for the killer.

In another twist in a bizarre tale, Montreal police initially reported that a third severed foot had been found, in a busy Montreal street.

They quickly withdrew that statement, and said the foot was a fake. “It was a very, very bad joke,” said Lafreniere.

He said police were investigating whether Magnotta had any connection to unsolved homicides in Montreal in recent years.

The victim’s family arrived in Montreal from China on Wednesday to an outpouring of support from Montrealers, many of them offering to help cover the costs of the stay.

Reporting by Louise Egan; Editing by Janet Guttsman and Jim Loney

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