A single mother from Toronto was reported missing just days before parts of her body were found in two separate cities, police said Tuesday.
Peel Regional Police say that DNA testing has confirmed that the body parts found in Mississauga and Toronto in recent days belong to Hua Guang Liu, 41, of Scarborough.
Insp. George Koekkoek told reporters Tuesday that Liu was last seen alive on Aug. 10 and was reported missing the following day by friends. Her foot was found in the Credit River on Aug. 15.
Liu, a Canadian citizen of Chinese descent, was a single mother of three.
Koekkoek said Liu was the owner of a spa on Eglinton Avenue in Scarborough.
He said police have executed search warrants in their investigation, including at a motel in Scarborough.
"We are working on suspect information," he said.
Police are treating Liu's death as a homicide.
"We have no reason to believe that this is anything other than an isolated case and that's the focus of our investigation thus far," Koekkoek said. "We're satisfied to this stage that there's no threat or danger to the public safety. If we have information to the contrary we'll be the first to advise."
Police seek video from outside spa
The spa that Liu operated was known as Forget Me Not.
Helen Savo-Sardaro, the building manager for the complex where the spa was located on Eglinton Avenue, told CBC News that police told her that Liu left the spa at 5:30 p.m. on the day she disappeared.
Savo-Sardaro was also a client at the spa. She said Liu ran a legitimate business and was very professional.
Imran Bachcha, a pharmacist who works next door to the spa, said police have requested access to the video recorded by on-site security cameras.
Bachcha told CBC News that police were interested whether the cameras covered the exterior of the pharmacy.
They told him they were "doing some major investigations regarding that missing woman."
A few doors down, Jong Soon Suh became tearful over the news about Liu's death.
"It's a nightmare," said Suh, who has owned a dry cleaning business in the complex for nearly 18 years. "It's very sad. She was the mother of three children."
Suh said a Caucasian man came into her store last week with a missing poster of Liu. He was visibly upset and said that Liu was his girlfriend.
She said the spa had been owned by a married couple for the past few years until they sold it to Liu in May so they could go back to China. Suh said the new owner mostly kept to herself.
Friends said Liu was planning to sell the spa after only a few months in business and, the evening she went missing, was scheduled to meet a prospective buyer, CBC's Jeff Semple reported.
CBC News has also learned that police are investigating whether a suitcase of clothing found in Toronto on Monday has any connection to the case.
The suitcase was found just two blocks from where some of Liu's remains were found.
Investigation launched after foot found
The investigation that led to Liu’s identification began when her foot was found in the Credit River in Mississauga's Hewick Meadows Park last Wednesday. Other body parts were found nearby, about 45 kilometres west of where she lived in east-end Toronto.
Savo-Sardaro said she knew who the victim was when police revealed details about what they had found.
"As soon as I heard it was yellow toenails, I knew it was her," she said.
On the weekend, Toronto police were alerted to the discovery of body parts on back-to-back days in the West Highland Creek, just blocks away from Liu's home.
Forensic tests have determined all of the body parts belonged to Liu, but police still do not know how she died. They estimate the body parts had been in the water between five to seven days.
Police have finished searching the park in Mississauga, and Toronto police were expected to wrap up their creek search on Tuesday.
After Liu was reported missing, Toronto police issued a news release with her description on Aug. 14.
She was described as being 5-1", weighing 108 pounds and having "thin eyebrows that are tattooed and long, straight auburn/brown hair."
Peel police are asking for anyone with information on Liu, her activities or movements in the days leading up to her death to call them.