Victim in body-parts case remembered by Montreal friends

The victim of a gruesome homicide that has captured international attention and launched a global manhunt is being remembered by friends in Montreal as a conscientious man who wanted to fit in to his adopted home.

Lin's family travelling to Canada, consulate says

Jun Lin, shown in this undated photo from his Facebook profile, was reported missing to police on May 29. (Facebook)

The victim of a gruesome homicide that has captured international attention and launched a global manhunt is being remembered by friends in Montreal as a conscientious man who wanted to fit in to his adopted home.

Investigators believe it was the remains of Jun Lin, a 33-year-old Chinese national, that were dismembered and discovered in mail in Ottawa and dumped behind a Montreal apartment building earlier this week.

Investigators believe Luka Rocco Magnotta fled the country last Saturday on an international flight. (Canadian Press)
Police have issued an international warrant for Luka Rocco Magnotta, 29, who they say had "a relationship" with the victim, but haven't detailed what that relationship was.

They believe Magnotta, who will be charged with a number of offences including first-degree murder when he is apprehended, fled the country on a flight out of Montreal's international airport on May 26.

Police say he still may be abroad or could have returned to Canada under a different name.

Lin was killed, investigators believe, some time after he was last seen on the afternoon of May 24.  

Police are still waiting on results of DNA tests to ultimately confirm the victim's identity, but said Friday they are "99.99 per cent" certain the remains are that of the Concordia University student.

Friends still in shock

Former classmate Zoya de Frias Lakhany said she only learned that Lin was linked to the grisly case on Friday when police identified him publicly.

A day later, she said she was still in shock.

She described Lin as a nice guy who helped her with her studies when they were in the same class last September.

In addition to a murder charge, the international warrant for Magnotta's arrest now includes a charge of corrupting morals —for allegedly putting a video of the murder online.

Lin's former classmate said she hasn't seen the video, but she was disgusted by the thought of it.

Nearly all traces of the video have been removed from a number of sites where it was posted and visible for several days.

Montreal police have made references to it in news briefings, but haven't conclusively said it captured the killing.

'He worked hard'

Concordia University president Frederick Lowy issued a statement on Friday, expressing his condolences to Lin's family and friends. The school said it is offering counselling to staff, faculty and students.

Dahai Fu, a friend who has known Lin for two years, described him as a gentle person who was committed to his studies.

"He worked hard," he said. "He just wanted to, you know, he just wanted to be a member of society, of the country."

Lin had no family in Canada, a fact which police said complicated the identification of the body.

The Chinese consulate in Montreal said Lin's family is trying to make it to Canada as quickly as possible, but they won't say when that would be.

Once the family arrives, the consulate will decide if a memorial open to the larger community will be organized.

Representatives from the consulate said they were shocked by the circumstances surrounding Lin's death and called it a horrific act against humanity.

Originally from Wuhan, the capital of China's Hubei province, Lin was studying engineering and computer science at Concordia.

Lin, who used the first name Patrick or Justin with friends and online, arrived in Canada two years ago, according to friends.

Kankan Huang, Lin's boss, said he knew something was wrong when he didn't show up for a scheduled shift. (Ryan Remiorz, Canadian Press)
He lived near the downtown campus before moving to a new apartment in Montreal's Côte-des-Neiges borough a month ago.

The superintendent of the building, Fred Hedriana, described Lin as a "nice guy."

"He looked like a gentleman – a good student. No problems," he said.

His new neighbours said they'd become accustomed to hearing music from Lin's apartment after he got home from work at a local depanneur.

It happened often enough in the short time he had lived there that they took note when the apartment fell silent for several days.

A friend of Lin's came by the building last weekend after he hadn't heard from him.

"They asked me if I can open the door, so I open the door and there's no sign of a struggle and everything there," the building's superintendent said. The friend then called police.

Lin hadn't shown up at work either. His boss at a depanneur in Montreal's Pointe-Saint-Charles neighbourhood, Kankan Huang, said he was a reliable employee.

He said he knew something was amiss when he didn't arrive for a shift because Lin hadn't missed a day since he was hired last August.

Huang said he was shocked when he read the news about his clerk's death.

"It's unbelievable for me. It's horrible."

Police in Montreal said there were no major updates in the investigation Saturday, but said they're looking into all information as it comes in.  

With files from The Canadian Press