LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Police investigating the discovery of a severed head, hands and feet in the hills below the Hollywood sign in January have contacted counterparts in Montreal about possible links to a porn actor accused of murder, dismemberment and cannibalism.
Investigators consider it unlikely that 29-year-old Luka Rocco Magnotta, who was arrested Germany this week following an international manhunt, was involved in the Hollywood case but were checking on his whereabouts at the time, Los Angeles Police Commander Andrew Smith told Reuters on Thursday.
“The bottom line is that we don’t think these two cases are related but we’re looking into it,” Smith said. “Obviously we’re comparing notes with (Canadian authorities) at this time.”
Smith said preliminary checks appeared to show that Magnotta was not in Los Angeles in late December, when the Hollywood murder was thought to have been committed. However, the investigation is made more difficult by the fact that Magnotta is known to have assumed multiple identities.
He said there were also significant “dissimilarities” between the crimes that suggested different assailants, but declined to elaborate.
A mother and daughter who were walking dogs on a popular hiking trail below the iconic Hollywood sign stumbled across the head in January and a search of the area later turned up severed hands and feet.
Though searchers combed the rugged foothills near 4,200-acre Griffith Park in the heart of Los Angeles and interviewed potential witnesses - including a bodyguard for actor Brad Pitt - a torso was never found.
The victim has been identified as 66-year-old Hervey Coronado Medellin, a former employee of Mexicana Airlines, but detectives have not said how he died or came to be dismembered. His murder remains unsolved and Smith said he could not disclose any further developments in the case.
Magnotta, who has an extensive web trail as a gay escort, bisexual porn star and alleged kitten killer, was arrested at an Internet cafe in Berlin on Monday.
He is accused of killing 32-year-old Chinese student Jun Lin with a pick axe, then dismembering and defiling his body and posting a video of the crime online. Montreal police have said the video appeared to show Lin’s killer eating part of the body.
Investigators suspect Magnotta of mailing his victim’s body parts to political parties in the Canadian capital Ottawa and say a severed hand and foot sent to two elementary schools in Vancouver this week may be linked to the gruesome crime. The head is still missing.
Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Mary Slosson and David Brunnstrom