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Severed head, body parts found near 'Hollywood' sign, police say

By Alan Duke, CNN
updated 10:24 AM EST, Thu January 19, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Investigators find two feet Wednesday evening
  • Police suspend the search for the night; it will resume at daylight Thursday
  • Two people find a head in a bag while walking dogs in the Bronson Canyon area
  • Police check recent missing-person reports for leads

Los Angeles (CNN) -- Searchers found two hands and two feet Wednesday near the famous "Hollywood" sign, the same area where police said a severed head was discovered earlier.

A cadaver dog found part of a human hand Wednesday morning about 50 yards from where a severed head was discovered in a Hollywood Hills park on Tuesday, police said. Another hand was located later in the afternoon, and two feet were found Wednesday evening, Los Angeles Police Officer Cleon Joseph said.

"We're hoping that we can find more remains," Los Angeles Police Cmdr. Andrew Smith said.

The head, found Tuesday by two people walking dogs along a dirt trail, is that of a man between 40 and 60 years old, with salt-and-pepper-colored hair, Los Angeles County Deputy Chief Coroner Ed Winter said Wednesday.

Severed head, hands found in Hollywood

Investigators "have every reason to believe" the hands and head belonged to the same person, Smith said.

It is possible an animal may have dragged the body parts from where they were initially placed, Smith said. Investigators suspect they had been in the park for about two days.

The body parts were found in brush off a secondary trail, about a half-mile from the park entrance, Smith said.

At least 30 Los Angeles police officers, a dozen coroner's investigators, a SWAT team trained in climbing skills and mounted officers were searching a seven-acre section of Bronson Canyon, next to Griffith Park, Smith said.

The search effort in the area's steep terrain was suspended late Wednesday afternoon because of failing light, but searchers will resume work after daylight Thursday, police said.

Los Angeles police homicide investigators have begun checking recent missing-person reports for leads on the identity of the man whose head was found, Winter said.

The two people who reported finding the head told park rangers they were walking about nine dogs in the Bronson Canyon area of the park around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday when two of the dogs started playing with an object in a plastic grocery bag, police told CNN.

The rangers in turn notified robbery and homicide detectives, who are handling the investigation.

CNN's Chuck Conder and Rosalina Nieves and HLN's Selin Darkalstanian contributed to this report.

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