As a sobbing mother arrived in Montreal from China to mourn her dead son, police uncovered clues linking the son’s alleged killer to human body parts mailed across the country to Vancouver.
The parents, sister and uncle of slain university student Lin Jun landed at Montreal’s Trudeau International Airport on Tuesday night – the victim’s mother so shattered by her son’s death that she could barely hold herself up.
“She was not able to talk much, she was crying and she was very, very emotional. The only words we could understand were: ‘We have come to take you home,’” said Yan Shi, president of the Chinese Student Association at Concordia University, who was part of a small delegation that met the family at the airport.
“It was heartbreaking,” he said.
The arrival of Mr. Lin’s family in Montreal came as police disclosed they believed the right hand and foot sent to two Vancouver schools on Tuesday were related to the killing and dismemberment of Mr. Lin, a 33-year-old Concordia student.
The shipments contained notes and were made from two Canada Post outlets in Montreal, police say. Luka Rocco Magnotta, the main suspect in the case, is in custody in Berlin, where he was captured after fleeing Montreal late last month.
“We have every reason to believe it’s related” to Mr. Lin’s death, Commander Ian Lafrenière of the Montreal police said. The body parts are being delivered from Vancouver to Montreal where they will undergo DNA testing.
The macabre case has now spanned the breadth of Canada and parts of Europe, and raises puzzling questions about what might connect an alleged killer and cannibal to two schools in British Columbia. Two other packages, containing a left hand and left foot, were mailed to federal parties in Ottawa.
Cdr. Lafrenière said in an interview that Mr. Magnotta did spend time in Vancouver, but he couldn’t specify when or for how long. The packages to Vancouver, like those mailed to Ottawa, contained notes, but their contents don’t offer any clues.
“Why Vancouver, why two schools? We ask the same question: Why Ottawa, why two political parties?” Cdr. Lafrenière said at an earlier press briefing.
Mr. Lin’s family is meeting police investigators as well as representatives from Concordia, which is prepared to hold a memorial if the family requests it. Mr. Shi is setting up a foundation to defray the family’s expenses.
Police are on hand to offer the family assistance. “This is horrible for them,” he said.
While police raise questions over Mr. Magnotta’s possible ties to Vancouver, bankruptcy documents do offer a potential link: When Mr. Magnotta filed in March, 2007, his largest debt, of $10,000, was to Traveler’s Leasing, a leasing and financing company with a head office in Burnaby. The company repossessed a vehicle of Mr. Magnotta’s – a 1999 Chevy Cavalier – on March 9, 2007.
However, the company has offices across the country, and the head office’s address on the documents do not necessarily mean the car was leased in Burnaby. Neither the firm nor another financial services company that may have taken over Mr. Magnotta’s account would discuss details of his lease on Wednesday, citing privacy rules.
While Cdr. Lafrenière noted Mr. Magnotta travelled extensively for work, Jeff Vanzetti, the webmaster for the U.S.-based Internet Adult Film Database, suggested Mr. Magnotta may have shot an adult film in Vancouver nearly a decade ago.
Mr. Vanzetti, who said he started looking into Mr. Magnotta’s résumé when police began their manhunt, said an adult film distributor called StreetBait.com had an office in Vancouver in 2003 – the same year Mr. Magnotta shot a movie with the company.
A police human-behaviour profiler also offered other hints about Mr. Magnotta.
“Both schools are in nice areas, that’s pretty high-priced real estate, so he could be snubbing his nose at the rich people,” said retired Ontario Provincial Police criminal profiler Jim Van Allen, who now runs his own Vancouver-based consulting firm, Behavioural Science Solutions Group Inc.
“But the easiest explanation is that he selected schools because that’s going to be really offensive, sending body parts there, and you just know it’s going to get huge media attention and I really think that’s the underlying motive here. He had no connection to the Conservative and Liberal parties either. Fame seemed to elude him so infamy was a lot easier to accomplish.”
One body part – the victim’s head – remains missing. In most cases involving decapitation, the head isn’t recovered, Mr. Van Allen said.
“But this guy’s a little different and nothing would surprise me about him – not if he mailed it to the Vatican.”