French authorities are closing in on the fugitive suspect in a grisly Montreal killing who has gained worldwide notoriety as the “Canadian Psycho.”
Using cellphone signals along with witnesses and video surveillance, police in Paris zeroed in on a series of apartments, hotels and bars across the French capital where people reported seeing Luka Rocco Magnotta.
The man who once had a blog entry posted under his name entitled How To Completely Disappear And Never Be Found has apparently left breadcrumbs scattered across Paris.
The trail begins in a bar in a northeastern sector of the city, where Mr. Magnotta was seen sipping a Coke at a bar and tried to crash a party with a local resident. Police reportedly seized pornography and airline sick bags at a local hotel, along with soft-drink bottles.
He also stayed in the Bastille neighbourhood and in the Clichy-la-Garenne district with a friend, who called police after hearing of the manhunt, according to the French newspaper Le Figaro.
Mr. Magnotta was tracked as late as Saturday night in a western part of Paris, said the newspaper, citing unnamed police sources. Montreal police would only confirm the suspect was seen in France on Friday. The paper said the Canadian fugitive is suspected of two thefts, including one in a perfume store. He was in the company of a large man the paper nicknamed La Colosse – colossus.
Mr. Magnotta boarded a plane to France at Montreal’s Trudeau Airport on Saturday, May 26, one day after a video was posted online that police say captured the stabbing and mutilation of Lin Jun, a 33-year-old Chinese national who was studying at Concordia University.
The worldwide notoriety of Mr. Magnotta’s case, and his distinctive appearance, appear to be assisting investigators, as numerous witnesses have stepped forward saying they had seen him.
“He came and knocked on my door, he said he wanted to end the night with an after-party with us. He spoke clearly and didn’t seem drunk,” a 29-year-old woman told Paris’s RMC Radio. The woman learned of her visitor’s identity only after he had left. “He had very pretty eyes, a very well-defined mouth. He had an accent. Someone warned me he was in the neighbourhood, so I looked on the Internet and confirmed it. I’m certain it was him. It gave me shivers.”
A witness in Paris told Agence-France Presse he saw police question the manager of the bar Le Petit Batignolles. Investigators seized empty Coke bottles, viewed security camera footage and showed the managers photos of Mr. Magnotta.
While some acquaintances have said Mr. Magnotta speaks only halting French, he has some familiarity with Paris. Photos published online show him posing in front of the Eiffel Tower and the Moulin Rouge cabaret.
Montreal police declined to confirm the reports Sunday, with a spokesman saying only they still haven’t excluded any possibility, including that Mr. Magnotta has left France and perhaps even returned to Canada.
Interpol has an alert out for Mr. Magnotta, 29, whose birth name was Eric Clinton Newman. He also goes by Vladimir Romanov.
Mr. Lin’s slaying came to light last week, when his torso was found in a suitcase left on a curb outside Mr. Magnotta’s apartment. Within hours, a foot was delivered to Conservative Party headquarters. A hand, intercepted by Ottawa police, was addressed to be delivered to Liberal Party offices.
Mr. Lin, who was enrolled in computer science and worked part-time at a convenience store, had been in Canada for about a year. Among acquaintances and in his online presence, he often spoke of his wish to find love.