Police have received more than 200 tips in their search for murder suspect Luka Magnotta, one of the world’s most wanted men in the killing and dismemberment of a Chinese student in a west-end Montreal apartment.
Montreal police Cmdr. Ian Lafreniere said they have never seen such a deluge of evidence and tips for a murder suspect in such a short period of time.
"In less than 12 hours to have photos of the suspect, to have images of the crime, it’s very rare, I’ve never seen that as a police officer, " Lafreniere told reporters, referring to a grisly snuff video believed to have been posted by Magnotta.
But it won’t necessarily be a cinch to find the 29-year-old Toronto sex worker, who fancies himself as a slippery figure. He’s believed to have written a 2009 blog entitled "How to Disappear Completely and Never Be Found" that talks of cutting off friends, travelling by land instead of air and using fake ID.
Lafreniere said Chinese national Jun Lin, 33, was killed on May 24 and that Magnotta flew out of Canada two days later.
"We know he left for Europe but you know that he’s a person who can change identities, who can change names and appearances, " Lafreniere said of Magnotta, who also goes by his birth name Eric Clinton Newman as well as Vladimir Romanov.
Lafreniere said that while police believe Magnotta is likely still overseas, Canadians should also be on the lookout for the suspected killer.
"Canadians should be aware of it because he could be back in Canada under a different identity."
Montreal police have issued an arrest warrant for Magnotta on charges of second-degree murder and indignity to a human body after Lin was killed, cut to pieces and partially eaten.
The suspect’s photo is the lead item on the website of Interpol which issued a "red notice," or international wanted persons alert.
A janitor in Montreal’s west-end Snowdon neighbourhood found a dismembered torso in a suitcase on Tuesday, triggering the police investigation and manhunt.
The grisly slaying made headlines around the world after a severed foot was mailed to Conservative headquarters in Ottawa and a hand, destined for a Liberal office in the nation’s capital, was intercepted at a Canada Post depot.
A broadcast report said a note attached to the package containing the severed foot warned the killer would strike again and that six body parts had been mailed out.
A graphic and deeply disturbing video also emerged online, showing a murder and dismemberment that police say depicts Lin’s murder.
The video shows a man being stabbed to death with an ice pick and then being cut into pieces. The perpetrator also performs necrophilic acts with the body parts.
An Edmonton-based website continues to host the video and Lafreniere wouldn’t rule out charges against the operators.
"We know who he is," said Lafreniere. "It’s possible to charge him later on, but for the moment this is not the main focus. We’ve got to keep on track to arrest the suspect. Later on we’ve got plenty of time to take care of those people."