Magnotta probe widens to include Vancouver remains
WARNING: This story contains graphic content
Montreal police have confirmed the remains sent by mail to two Vancouver schools came from Montreal, but said today they'll have to wait for DNA testing before they can determine if the hand and foot belong to slain Montreal student Jun Lin.
Cmdr. Ian Lafrenière told a news conference in Montreal on Wednesday morning it's still unclear what, if any links exist between Lin's alleged killer, Luka Rocco Magnotta, and the elementary schools that received the packages Tuesday afternoon.
However, he said investigators have good reason to believe the remains are from the same victim.
"We're talking about the same body parts that we were looking for, which is the right hand and the right foot," he said, adding the packages were shipped from Montreal, but he couldn't confirm from which postal outlet.
"Right now, we have all the reasons to believe this, but we have no confirmation whatsoever."
The remains will be sent to Montreal on Wednesday for further forensic examination.
Some of Lin's remains were discovered inside a suitcase outside a Montreal apartment on May 29, the same day body parts addressed to the offices of the Conservative and Liberal parties in Ottawa were discovered.
Magnotta, 29, was arrested in Berlin earlier this week and is awaiting extradition back to Canada.
Montreal police confirmed Tuesday that some body parts are still missing from Lin's remains, but authorities did not believe they were in the postal system.
Vancouver police turned over the investigation to Montreal's homicide unit late Tuesday after noticing the packing and addresses on the boxes were similar to ones found in Ottawa last week.
Lafrenière said there were notes included in all four recovered packages.
"What was written on the notes, we kept that for ourselves," he said, explaining investigators' concerns about possible copycats.
Vancouver schools reopen
Meanwhile, students were back in classes on Wednesday morning at the two schools on the west side of Vancouver that received the packages.
One package containing a human hand was opened by a staff member at False Creek Elementary School just after 1 p.m. PT on Tuesday. A second package containing a human foot was found by staff members at St. George's School, a private boys school, later in the afternoon.
Vancouver School Board spokesman Kurt Heinrich said the district will have counsellors at False Creek Elementary School.
"It is an unbelievable situation in some ways, but we try to normalize the situation as much as possible."
Principal Bruce Murton said there are also plans to have more staff supervising students at lunch.
"We also have our support team from our school board down here helping us out as well, and we also have victim services available and the VPD has been great and we are in contact with them regularly regarding any issues of safety and security."
Morton said about 30 parents did stop by to discuss the incident, but the aim is to have a regular school day for the students and staff.
Parent Dave Brown says he told his daughter the truth about a package containing a hand that arrived at the school on Tuesday afternoon.
Brown says his 10-year-old daughter was frightened before she quickly came to accept what he told her — that some sick people do crazy things.
But parent Eva Perjes said she doesn't want her two kids — in Grades 2 and 3 — knowing anything about human remains showing up at the school and doesn't want them finding out about the incident from older kids.
As she spoke, about a dozen students huddled around a girl in the school yard as she showed them the front page of a newspaper with a story about a hand being sent to their school and a foot being mailed to a nearby private school.
Across the city, parents dropping off their children at the private St. George's Junior School were reluctant to speak to reporters about the incident, but a statement posted on the school website said the staff were working closely with police and counsellors to handle the incident.
Vancouver police Deputy Chief Warren Lemcke told reporters Tuesday afternoon it was not apparent why the packages were sent to the schools, but there was no indication students or staff at either school were specifically targeted.
With files from The Canadian Press