Correction Appended June 6, 2012.
Vancouver police deputy chief Warren Lemcke told reporters that a package containing a human hand was delivered to False Creek Elementary School early Tuesday afternoon. The school’s principal told the Globe and Mail that a secretary received the “suspicious, smelly package,” and it was soon reported to the police. An hour later, another package containing human foot was delivered to the private boy’s school St. George’s. (A third package discovered in Montreal, containing what appeared to be a human foot, was later determined to be fake.)
Though investigators have yet to make any conclusive identifications of the body parts, many are already linking the gruesome deliveries to the murder and dismemberment of Jun Lin, a 33-year-old Chinese citizen who was studying at Montreal’s Concordia University.
Lin’s murder first made headlines when packages containing parts of his then-unidentified body were sent to the headquarters of two major Canadian political parties. His discarded torso was subsequently discovered stuffed in suitcase in Montreal outside the apartment of his boyfriend, a porn actor named Luka Rocco Magnotta. By the time a grisly video of Lin’s murder and dismemberment — thought to have been posted by Magnotta — was discovered online, Magnotta had fled the country. He made his way to France and then Berlin, where he was spotted and arrested by German police.
Magnotta, born Eric Clinton Newman, was taken into custody Monday afternoon after a cafe employee alerted the police to his whereabouts. The employee, Kadir Anlayisli, reportedly recognized the suspected killer when he saw Magnotta reading stories about himself online. Video footage from the arrest shows that seven Berlin police officers entered the business, and after some discussion, Magnotta consented to arrest. “He tried to give a false name. When he realized that he couldn’t escape the situation, he said, ‘You’ve got me,’” a Berlin police spokesperson told the National Post. Magnotta’s extradition is being arranged. Vancouver and Montreal police are conducting DNA tests on the new packages.
Yet even in his absence, the saga of Lin’s murder appears to still be unfolding back home. Montreal and Vancouver police are hoping that results from DNA tests will identify the newest body parts as quickly as possible. Vancouver authorities’ primary concern, according to deputy chief Lemke, is “to identify the victim and from where the packages were mailed.” While there is the possibility of a copycat crime — or even a completely unrelated crime — the rest of Lin’s remains, including his right foot, right hand and head, are still missing. “We’ve got no indication [if Magnotta is connected to the Vancouver packages] whatsoever, but we’re not taking any chances… We’re working closely with the postal services to see if there could have been something [else] shipped,” Cmdr. Ian Lafreniere said at a Montreal press conference Tuesday according to the Canadian Press.
And as Magnotta awaits extradition in a Berlin jail cell, German authorities report that he has been “calm and quiet,” only asking once for a guard to light his cigarette, the CP reported. The suspected killer has not given any indication that he will fight extradition, but he still may choose to delay the process in court — a prospect that does not worry the Montreal police.
“At least, he’s detained — he’s stopped,” Lafreniere said at the Tuesday press conference. “The largest manhunt of the Montreal police history is over for us.”
Yet despite the scale of the week-long manhunt, investigators had the benefit of Magnotta’s extensive online trail to craft a profile. And while most serial killers have shown a predilection for working in the shadows, criminal profiler Pat Brown told Voice of America Magnotta displayed a gregarious nature that helped lead to his capture: in addition to surfing news articles about himself in a public internet cafe, he also reportedly spent the past weekend partying in Parisian gay bars.
“I would have to say that Luka Magnotta was quite a bit different from the other psychopaths I’ve dealt with in the past,” said Brown. “Not that his general behavior isn’t typically psychopathic; he’s very narcissistic, he’s very grandiose, he has no empathy, he’s a manipulator of the nth degree. What is different about him is he’s basically an attention whore; he loves the media, and he wants to be the most well-known person in the world.”
An earlier version of this story stated that Luka Rocco Magnotta was the person who posted the video of Lin’s murder and dismemberment. This has not been proven.