Dismemberment Case Takes on Horror Show Quality
(Photo credit: Montreal Police Department/CNN)
By Chelsea J. Carter, CNN
It’s a murder mystery with the makings of a horror film: Authorities
hunt a self-proclaimed porn star who they say killed and dismembered a
student, mailed the body parts to Canadian police and politicians, and
then taunted authorities by posting a video of the grisly act on the
The manhunt for Luka Rocco Magnotta has captured worldwide attention
as it stretched into its fifth day on Monday, with news the search for
the 29-year-old suspect dubbed “the Canadian psycho” had moved to France
following a number of reported sightings.
The reported sightings of Magnotta are being investigated in Paris,
where he is believed to have fled under an assumed name, Montreal Police
Cmdr. Ian LaFreniere said. But he also says Magnotta could be anywhere,
hiding in plain sight.
Magnotta is wanted on charges of first-degree murder in connection
with the killing of 33-year-old Jun Lin, Concordia University student
from China., and threatening, among others, Canada’s prime minister
after mailing him a severed foot.
The case began to unfold last week when a package addressed to Prime
Minister Stephen Harper was received at his majority Conservative Party
headquarters, and a hand was later found at a post office addressed to
the minority Liberal Party, authorities said.
Quickly authorities traced the address on the packages to the
Montreal apartment of Magnotta where they discovered a torso in a
suitcase in a trash bin.
And all of it, Montreal police say, was captured on a graphic video
posted to the web that features a man — who authorities believe is
Magnotta — killing another man, dismembering the corpse and performing
“We believe he filmed himself,” LaFreniere said last week. “It’s
gross … This is a very deranged person. He is looking for attention and
he got it, but not in a positive way.”
Not all the body parts have been recovered, and LaFreniere said
forensic evidence and DNA was used to identify the victim as Jun.
Authorities believe Magnotta killed Jun sometime between May 24 and
May 25, posted the video a short time later and then on May 26 fled the
country by plane to Europe, most likely Paris.
That prompted Interpol, the global police agency, to alert authorities in 190 countries.
Over the weekend, police said there were indications that the suspect
may have been aboard a flight from Paris back to Montreal. There was no
sign of him after a search of the plane, LaFreniere said.
Since the case went public, new details have emerged daily, new
chapters in a grisly saga with an alleged culprit that police say is
infatuated with self-promotion.
According to Canadian press reports, Magnotta promoted himself as a
gay porn star through a graphic web site that showcase a chameleon-like
quality, the ability to change his appearance. In one picture, with dark
hair, he resembles a teenager. In another, with blonde hair, he looks
Authorities allege he even changes his names, using the aliases Eric Newman or Vladimir Romanov.
“There are a lot of pictures of him out there, and it will help lead him to us,” LaFreniere told reporters over the weekend
His name may not have been known before this week, but Magnotta’s digital footprints were large.
He was notorious among online animal rights activists, who pegged him
as a serial kitten killer who used cat carcasses in sexual acts.
A Facebook group started in December 2010 dubbed him the “Vacuum
Kitten Killer,” after a video was posted on YouTube showing kittens
being killed by suffocation and drowning.
Now, there are reports that Magnotta threatened to kill as early as
six months ago during an encounter with a reporter at the Sun.
The British newspaper implicated Magnotta as a suspect in the
videotaped killing of a kitten, which it reports he initially denied.
Then, according to the newspaper, it received an e-mail where the
writer described how he planned to move on from killing animals to
people. The writer, the newspaper reported over the weekend, was
“We’re talking about a very strange, unhinged individual,” said the Sun’s Neil Millard.
“Obviously, we did give those detail to the police in this country.”
But there was little British authorities police could do, with Magnotta back in Canada.
LaFreniere has said police are aware of the animal abuse allegations.
On what appears to be his website, Magnotta defended himself as a victim of cyberstalking.
“Once and for all, I will set the record straight,” he wrote. “Many
hoax websites are created using my image and name, posing as me to seem
more believable in respect to the type of audience these website (sic)
have, I feel I don’t need to list them specifically but people need not
be told, not to believe what they read and to take it as fact.”
The website has writing in Arabic and Russian, and shows images of
Magnotta half-naked and with his lips in a distinct runway pout.
LaFreniere from the Montreal police expressed confidence that
Magnotta will be caught sooner or later — predicting his desire for
attention may be his downfall.
“This man uses the Web to glorify himself, and (authorities) hope
this habit will lead to his capture,” the police commander said
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