Police locate 2nd man allegedly lured to Edmonton garage

A second man who was allegedly lured to the same south Edmonton garage where police believe John Brian Altinger was last alive has contacted investigators, Edmonton police said late Monday afternoon.

A second man allegedly lured to the same south Edmonton garage where police believe John Brian Altinger was last alive contacted investigators on Sunday, Edmonton police said Monday afternoon.

Mark Andrew Twitchell, shown here during a CBC-TV interview in May 2007 about his filmmaking, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of John Brian Altinger. ((CBC))

The man, who went to the garage on Oct. 3, was interviewed by investigators Monday in connection with the investigation into Altinger's death.

Edmonton filmmaker Mark Twitchell, 29, has been charged with first-degree murder in Altinger's disappearance, in a case that shares similarities to a movie he was making and the serial killer television show Dexter. Altinger's body has not been found.

Twitchell will appear in court on Wednesday.

Police allege Altinger was lured to a southside detached residential double garage through a dating website with the promise of meeting a beautiful woman. Instead, police said, Altinger was killed.

Edmonton police said the second man was apparently confronted by someone wearing a hockey mask when he showed up at the garage a week before Altinger went missing.

"The male was able to break free and run into the lane, being chased by the male in the mask. At this time a couple was walking by and saw the altercation," said Det. Mark Anstey of the Edmonton Police Service on the weekend.

"The male wearing the hockey mask backed away and the other male may have escaped."

Altinger, 38, was last seen on Oct. 10, police said Saturday. Originally from White Rock, B.C., he went missing from the area of 40th Avenue and 57th Street in Edmonton.  Altinger had been living in Edmonton for 10 years.

Twitchell had used the garage as a movie set, said Anstey.

"This film was about luring a fellow from the internet, duct-taping him to a chair, killing him and cutting him," he said.

"It was actually filmed and there are actors; we interviewed the actors. We've interviewed everybody, and that film actually did take place."

Twitchell was arrested without incident in Edmonton on Friday.

E-mail takes police to garage

Police wouldn't say what they found in the garage, but alleged there is enough forensic evidence to charge Twitchell with first-degree murder.

Police have found a man they believe was attacked by someone wearing this hockey mask after he was lured in early October to a garage in southeast Edmonton. ((Edmonton Police Service))
Anstey said they were led to the garage because Altinger had e-mailed a friend the directions where he was told to go, and the friend kept that e-mail.

On his Facebook page, Twitchell is revealed to be a huge fan of the Showtime program Dexter, which follows the exploits of Dexter Morgan, a blood-spatter expert for the Miami police who also leads a secret life as a serial killer.

"We have a lot of information to suggest he definitely idolizes Dexter," Anstey said.

Anstey also alleged the police have evidence that Twitchell tried to emulate the character.

Friends of Altinger express shock

Marie Laugesen, Altinger's longtime friend, said she began to think something was wrong several weeks ago, when she received an e-mail from his account that said he had left for Costa Rica with a woman he had just met.

"That's when I got an e-mail from a family member saying, 'Where's Johnny, have you heard from Johnny?' Well, I said, 'Isn't he in Costa Rica?' and she said, 'No, he's not,'" she said.

Shortly afterward, they learned Altinger had quit his job by e-mail, "which is very unusual for him," Laugesen told CBC News.

Twitchell known for making Star Wars film

Twitchell received some attention from the Edmonton media in 2007 because he was making a prequel to the Star Wars series called Secrets of the Rebellion.

Appearing on CBC Radio's Edmonton AM in May 2007, he spoke to host Ron Wilson about how he got into film.

"I went to school for radio and television here in Edmonton and then as time went on, I just decided I want to break into filmmaking, and Star Wars opened that door for me, because like I said, I would never be able to get away with what I am doing now without all this donated material and services, and usually when people hear the name Star Wars, that's what they want to contribute it to," he said.

"I get to be able to put the film out and do my fan thing, while at the same time generating a career for myself and everyone else who's involved," he said.