Canadian police reveal identity of victim in grisly body parts killing

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Story highlights

  • Jun Lin, 32, was a Chinese student at Montreal's Concordia University
  • He apparently knew the suspect, Luke Rocco Magnotta
  • A massive manhunt is under way for Magnotta
  • He is suspected of killing and dismembering his victim and capturing it on video

Canadian police on Friday identified the victim of a grisly killing in Montreal as a university student from China who was reported missing by a friend earlier this week.

Jun Lin, 33, was attending Concordia University in Montreal, said Montreal police Commander Ian Lafreniere. He was last seen May 24. Police believe the murder took place May 24 or May 25

The Chinese consulate in Montreal said Lin was from the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

Police believe Lin was killed and his body dismembered in a Montreal apartment. A massive international manhunt is ongoing for the prime suspect, Luka Rocco Magnotta, 29, a self-professed porn star.

Before police released the name, a reader identified as lancelot16 who commented on a CNN story about Magnotta said he or she knew Lin.

"I'm a friend of the victim," the comment said. "He was an international student from China. They met just weeks ago, but were starting to go out. Not his boyfriend. They had a casual relationship."

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The commenter said Lin had a party at his apartment and sent his cat to a friend's house, promising to pick it up the next day. He never did.

    Magnotta, who was born as Eric Clinton Newman and also uses the alias Vladimir Romanov, fled by plane from Montreal to Europe, Lafreniere said. That prompted Interpol, the global police agency, to alert authorities in 190 countries.

    Police have reason to believe Magnotta might have gone to eastern Europe, given his Russian pseudonym and writings on his Web page. Lafreniere said there was a possibility he might have re-entered Canada under another name. He said Magnotta is good at disguising himself.

    A 10-minute video of the killing and dismemberment was posted online.

    "We believe he filmed himself," Lafreniere said. "It's gross."

    "This is a very deranged person," he said. "He is looking for attention and he got it, but not in a positive way."

    Police began searching for Magnotta after a severed hand and foot were mailed to the Ottawa headquarters of Canada's Liberal and Conservative parties and a torso was discovered stuffed in a brand new suitcase and tossed in the trash heap of a Montreal apartment building.

    In apartment 208, where Magnotta lived, dried blood stained the table, the bed, the bathtub and the refrigerator.

    Magnotta knew Lin, Lafreniere said, but would not say with certainty what their relationship was or whether it was sexual in nature.

    Normally, the name of a victim would not be released in a case like this but Lafreniere said police identified Lin to put the families of other missing persons at ease.

    He said police would do a DNA match to get a 100% confirmation of Lin's identity.

    "There are still some parts we are missing at this moment," Lafreniere said, adding he did not want to be disrespectful to Lin's family.

    The much-talked-about killing was the worst police officers in Montreal have seen in decades, Lafreniere said.

    The video, which police tried to take down from the Web, was back online on another site. Lafreniere said he could not understand what person could watch a human being getting decapitated in front of a camera.

    Magnotta's name may not have been known before this week but his digital footprints were large.

    He was notorious among online animal rights activists who pegged him as a serial kitten killer who used the carcasses in sexual acts.

    He was dubbed the "Vacuum Kitten Killer" by a Facebook group started in December 2010 to track down the man responsible for posting a video on YouTube of kittens being killed by suffocation and drowning.

    "We are patiently waiting for more information on the case and have faith in the Montreal Police," the website said Thursday.

    "Members of this group have spent over a year searching for this individual, who we believe is also responsible for several videos where animals were killed. Information gathered by group members was passed on to the authorities in Canada, and we were informed that they were actively working on locating the person seen in the videos hurting animals."

    Lafreniere said police are aware of the animal allegations.

    On what appears to be his own 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 images of Magnotta, half naked and with lips in a perfect runway pout.

    Several Canadian newspapers also reported that Magnotta had dated notorious Canadian killer Karla Homolka. Lafreniere said he could not confirm any links and Homolka is not part of the investigation.

    Police described Magnotta as being 5 feet 8 inches tall and about 135 pounds, with black hair and blue eyes.

    They said they are asking the public for help in finding Magnotta, after a "coast-to-coast" warrant was issued for his arrest. Police say they plan to charge him with murder once he is apprehended.

    "We need to bring him to justice," Lafreniere said.

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