Dismembered victim was polite, responsible: boss
Published Friday, June 1, 2012 10:06PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, June 11, 2012 6:31PM EDT
A university student identified as the victim of a gruesome murder and dismemberment was described on Friday as a polite and responsible convenience store employee who had never missed a shift until he went missing last week.
Montreal police confirmed the identity of the victim as Jun Lin, a Chinese national studying at Montreal's Concordia University, and said he was acquainted with the primary suspect in the investigation, Luka Rocco Magnotta.
Cmdr. Ian Lafreniere said police were not certain when the acquaintance began. He added that they do not yet have a DNA match confirming with 100 per cent certainty the identity of the victim, but were "99.999 per cent," sure the murdered man is Lin.
Magnotta, 29, is believed to have taken a Europe-bound flight from Montreal on May 26, police said.
"We know he left Montreal for a destination in Europe and this is the latest information we have," Lafreniere said, adding that police are not revealing the country where they believe Magnotta is hiding.
Lafreniere noted there was talk that Magnotta may have even returned to Canada.
He said police have received more than 200 tips about the case, and Magnotta's photo and description is being circulated around the world via Interpol.
Montreal police said Magnotta will face charges of first-degree murder and indecency to a human body when he is arrested. He will also be charged with criminally harassing Prime Minister Stephen Harper and members of Parliament. Those charges are likely related to the mailing of body parts to Conservative and Liberal party offices in Ottawa.
"I'm hoping all this pressure will lead him back to where he needs to be, which is behind bars," Lafreniere said.
Police believe Lin may have been killed on May 24 or 25. He was last seen on May 24, and was reported missing on May 29.
The website for China's Consulate General in Montreal listed Lin as a missing person and asked anyone who had information on his whereabouts to come forward. In that release he was listed as 34 years old, however Montreal police say he was 33.
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird reached out to China's envoy to Canada on Friday, sending condolences for the "senseless killing of Chinese student Jun Lin."
Officials said Baird promised to keep the Chinese up to date with developments in the international search for the suspect in the vicious killing.
Students at Concordia, where Lin was an undergraduate student in the faculty of engineering and computer science, were mourning Friday. Personal counselling and staff support was being offered by the university.
Concordia President Frederick Lowy expressed condolences to Lin's friends and family on behalf of the university.
"We are saddened to learn of this loss of life and it has affected our community, especially those who knew him," he said in a statement.
"It is never easy to deal with the loss of a loved one, particularly when the death is unforeseen. Our hearts go out to his family and friends during this very difficult time."
A concierge at his off-campus apartment building said he knew Lin simply as Justin.
The owner of a Montreal convenience store where Lin worked described the victim as a model employee who was never late and never missed a shift.
A shaken Kankan Huang told The Canadian Press on Friday that Lin was responsible and polite while working about 10 hours a week as a cashier. Huang said he had a hard time believing Lin was dead.
French police searching for Magnotta
Earlier Friday, French police said they are actively searching for Magnotta and believe he is hiding in the country.
A senior French official said he is "sure" Magnotta is currently in France.
Montreal police said Thursday they found evidence in Magnotta's apartment suggesting he had left North America, including a blog entry written under his name with instructions on how to disappear.
Police also believe a gruesome video posted on the Internet shows the murder and dismemberment of the victim.
The video in question was removed from the website where it was originally posted, but the man who owns the web domain said he may repost it.
"My server has been under such heavy load, I had to temporarily disable streaming of this video," Mark Marek wrote in an email to CTV Edmonton.
"I can't predict what will go down in the future, though. Am I gonna open it for viewing or should I keep it off?" Marek wrote.
On Tuesday a severed foot arrived in the mail at the Conservative Party of Canada's headquarters in Ottawa, triggering a police investigation.
Later that day, a severed hand was intercepted at a Canada Post office in the capital, apparently destined for the Liberal Party of Canada's offices.
Then police announced a link between the mailed body parts and a human torso found in a suitcase in Montreal, in the garbage behind Magnotta's apartment building.