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Manhunt now global for suspect in Canada dismemberment case

By Ben Brumfield and Moni Basu, CNN
June 4, 2012 -- Updated 1415 GMT (2215 HKT)
Luka Rocco Magnotta, 29, is suspected in the killing of his acquaintance and the mailing of his body parts, authorities say.
Luka Rocco Magnotta, 29, is suspected in the killing of his acquaintance and the mailing of his body parts, authorities say.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Police believe Luka Rocco Magnotta has fled Canada
  • Police say they have found a video online of Magnotta committing the crime
  • Dried blood was found on table, bed, bathtub and refrigerator of his apartment
  • Animal rights activists pegged Magnotta as a serial kitten killer

(CNN) -- Authorities launched an international manhunt Thursday for a Canadian man suspected of dismembering an acquaintance and mailing body parts to political party headquarters.

Canadian police believe Luka Rocco Magnotta, 29, who was born as Eric Clinton Newman and also uses the alias Vladimir Romanov, has fled the country, prompting Interpol, the global police agency, to add his name to its most wanted list.

The self-described porn star posting a video of the killing and dismemberment online.

"We believe he filmed himself," said Montreal police Commander Ian Lafreniere. "It's gross."

"This is a very deranged person," he said. "He is looking for attention and he got it but not in a positive way."

Magnotta knew the victim, whom Lafreniere said he could not identify. He said the headless body was too mutilated to make any immediate identification.

Magnotta had no prior police record but his name and photos were all over the Internet. Animal rights activists accused him of being a serial kitten killer and launched a campaign to find him.

Magnotta had what appears to be his own website, on which he says he was the victim of cyberstalkers.

Lafreniere said police found evidence suggesting he had fled Canada. He once wrote online about how to disappear after committing a crime.

Police have reason to believe he might have gone to eastern Europe, given his Russian alias and writings on his Web page. Lefreniere said there was a possibility he might have re-entered Canada under another name. He said Magnotta was good at disguising himself.

Police were first alerted to the grisly act when a severed foot in a package arrived by mail at Conservative Party headquarters in Ottawa. Police Sgt. Steve Hodgsontold reporters that staffers had begun to open the package before calling police.

Suspect named in body parts mailing

"The odor coming from the package was just horrible, and I'm sure many of us will never forget it," Conservative Party spokesman Fred Delorey told Canada's CBC news.

A severed hand turned up the same day at a postal distribution center, where it was intercepted. It was addressed to the Liberal Party.

On Wednesday, a third body part -- a torso -- turned up behind a Montreal apartment building, where the suspect was a tenant. It had been stuffed into a suitcase. The foot and hand belong to the same victim, Lafreniere said, and police believe the torso does as well.

"We are still missing pieces of this puzzle in terms of body parts," he said.

Two people associated with the beige brick apartment building where Magnotta lived noticed the suitcase outside the building.

"I had my eye on it, because it looked like a nice suitcase," resident Richard Payette told CBC. But something about it struck him has odd.

Later, a janitor made the shocking discovery, and police were alerted.

Arriving officers cordoned off the area. The scene inside the apartment was no less disturbing.

"I've been a police officer for more than 20 years now, and I met officers that were doing an investigation for more than 30 years, and they said they never saw a scene like that," Lafreniere said.

Dried blood stained the table, the bed, the bathtub and the refrigerator of apartment 208.

Police say they have found a video online of Magnotta committing the murder in Montreal.

His image and information related to him were later recovered from a "very graphic" website, Lafreniere said. At least one of the websites examined by authorities was pornographic.

Magnotta also was notorious among animal rights activists who pegged him as a serial kitten killer who used the carcasses in sexual acts.

He was dubbed the "Vacuum Kitten Killer" by a Facebook group started in December 2010 to track down the man responsible for posting a video on YouTube of the kitten deaths.

"We are patiently waiting for more information on the case and have faith in the Montreal Police," the website said Thursday.

"Members of this group have spent over a year searching for this individual, who we believe is also responsible for several videos where animals were killed. Information gathered by group members was passed onto the authorities in Canada, and we were informed that they were actively working on locating the person seen in the videos hurting animals."

Lafreniere said police were aware of the animal allegations.

On what appears to be his own website, Magnotta defended himself as a victim of cyberstalking.

"Once and for all I will set the record straight," he wrote. "Many hoax websites are created using my image and name, posing as me to seem more believable in respect to the type of audience these website (sic) have, I feel I don't need to list them specifically but people need not be told, not to believe what they read and to take it as fact."

The website has writing in Arabic and Russian and images of Magnotta, half naked and with lips pouted.

Several Canadian newspapers also reported that Magnotta had dated notorious Canadian killer Karla Homolka. Lafreniere said he could not confirm any links and that she was not part of the investigation.

Police described him as being 5 feet 8 inches tall and about 135 pounds with black hair and blue eyes.

They said they are asking the public for help in finding Magnotta, after a "coast-to-coast" warrant was issued for his arrest. Police say they plan to charge him with murder once he's apprehended.

"We need to bring him to justice," Lafreniere said.

CNN's David Ariosto, Jake Carpenter, Paula Newton and Matt Smith contributed to this report.

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