Police around the world are on the hunt for Luka Rocco Magnotta, who is believed to have flown to France on the weekend shortly after the brutal killing and dismemberment of a man in Montreal.
A Montreal police spokesperson confirmed Thursday that investigators "have good reasons to believe that [Mr. Magnotta]has left the country." They have called on Interpol to place him on the international organization's list of wanted persons, sending "red notices" to police forces in more than 100 countries.
The investigation of the gruesome crime recorded in a video posted to the Internet now appears to be focused on the international manhunt, with the scene of the crime wrapped up even though police are still searching for missing body parts.
The victim, an Asian man in his early 30s who has yet to be named, was reported missing Tuesday, Montreal police Commander Ian Lafrenière said. But the victim's relatives live outside Canada, and police have been unable to reach them to notify them, another officer said.
Mr. Magnotta and the victim were involved, Commander Lafrenière said. "They were dating. They've been involved in a relationship," he said.
The suspect remains mostly an unknown to neighbours in the Montreal apartment building where he lived for the past three months. Few of his neighbours in the dingy yellow-brick apartment building overlooking Montreal's Décarie expressway saw him with anyone, and none said they had ever seen him with an Asian man.
"I've never seen [the victim]here," said Richard Payette, 59, who lives down the hall from Mr. Magnotta's second-floor apartment. He said he once heard a man's voice inside the apartment, about two weeks ago, when Mr. Magnotta asked the man whether he was staying the night, but the man said he had to go home.
Mr. Magnotta didn't speak much, never played music, and Mr. Payette said he had never seen him with anyone else.
Derek MacKinnon, a former resident of the building who still meets friends for a beer on the doorstep, said he was the only one around the building to whom Mr. Magnotta ever really spoke. That was perhaps because they were both gay, said Mr. MacKinnon, who identified himself as the actor who played a serial killer in the 1980 Canadian horror film Terror Train.
Mr. Magnotta asked what the gay bars were like, but didn't say much about himself. "It was just normal conversation as he's walking in and out the door," Mr. MacKinnon said.
The killing occurred last week in the low-rent building in Montreal's multiethnic Snowdon area. The torso was found Tuesday when janitor Mike Nadeau saw maggots on a suitcase left with trash outside the building, and opened it. On the same day, officials at the Conservative Party of Canada's offices in Ottawa received a package containing the victim's foot. Canada Post subsequently discovered an undelivered package, addressed to the Liberal Party, containing the victim's hand.
The killing took place earlier, however. Mr. Payette said he saw the suitcase that contained the torso sitting out with trash last Friday, May 25. A video of the killing was reportedly first uploaded to the Internet that same day.
But by Thursday, the crime scene in Mr. Magnotta's apartment had been wrapped up, and the cleanup was being rushed.
The carpets were torn up, revealing a few spots of blood that had dripped through to the wood floors underneath. Inside a closet was written: "If you don't like the reflection, Don't look in the mirror. I don't care."
The fridge that, according to Mr. Nadeau, appeared to have held body parts that dripped blood to the bottom shelf, was take out for cleaning. And the mattress that had been soaked through with blood was wrapped in plastic and left on the curb for the city to collect Thursday afternoon. Police said they didn't need the mattress for forensics.
"I don't want to get gross, but with all the body parts we found, we don't need any more blood," Commander Lafrenière said.