OTTAWA - A political mastermind behind Stephen Harper's Conservative government made the gruesome discovery of a human foot belonging to a torso found in Montreal.
"I'm fine," Jenni Byrne told The Canadian Press on Wednesday as new details emerged about a crime that's horrified the capital and has some shaking their heads about the political vibe in the country.
The foot arrived via mail at Conservative party headquarters on Tuesday and later in the day police found a second package containing a hand. They confirmed Wednesday that package was addressed to the Liberal party, though never reached its destination.
Both body parts have now been linked to a torso found in Montreal and police are tracking a suspect in the case.
Byrne had been handed the suspicious-looking box when it arrived at Conservative party headquarters just blocks from Parliament Hill on Tuesday morning.
Though it was addressed to the party, Byrne is one of the most senior staffers there, having been the national campaign manager for the 2011 general election.
She examined the blood-stained box and as she opened it, a foul odour escaped and overcame the office.
"It was such a horrible odour, I'm sure many of us will not forget it," said party spokesman Fred DeLorey.
Police were immediately called and when they opened the package further, determined that a foot lay inside.
The disturbing find set off a major investigation that went well into the night as Ottawa police later found a hand at the Canada Post mail facility in the east end of the city.
Liberal party officials and MPs said they weren't informed they were the intended recipient.
"The police will do their investigation and we have no comment," Liberal MP Ralph Goodale said.
Both packages were mailed from Montreal, police said.
There, police had been grappling with a grisly find of their own — a human torso found stuffed into a suitcase in a west-end neighbourhood.
They named a suspect in the case Wednesday afternoon.
"The suspect and victim knew each other," Montreal police Cmdr. Ian Lafreniere told reporters.
"It isn't linked to organized crime."
Canada Post officials refused repeated requests for comment on the incidents or even information on mail security in the nation's capital.
On Parliament Hill, political staffers were keeping a close eye on the mail, rattled by the incident.
"For us, certainly, we've advised our team, our staff in the office, to be careful in the next few days because it's a real concern," said NDP House Leader Nathan Cullen.
His party also rose in the House of Commons to extend their sympathies to the staff at Conservative offices and to Canada Post employees.
"They were both victims of an outrageous and reprehensible act," NDP MP Randall Garrison said.
Interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae said there is more to the incidents than just their bizarre nature.
"Behind it is a human tragedy and we should all reflect on that this is a terrible crime has been committed," Rae said.
When asked if he thought the packages were sent with political motives, another NDP MP suggested the incident could be an upsetting reflection on the times.
"It could be just one crazy person that did it but at the same time we have lots of people unhappy in our country, the way the country is going," said Yvon Godin, adding he hoped that wasn't the reason the packages were sent.
Liberal MP Justin Trudeau said he hoped the incident didn't having a chill effect.
"I'm worried about anything that might cause us to pull back or put up any barriers between Canadians and their representatives," he said.
Conservative Public Safety Minister Vic Toews called the incident a "very disturbing development" but wouldn't comment on whether security for MPs had been beefed up as a result.
It was not clear whether there was a political motive behind the packages, but Toews was the target of public attacks earlier this year following his introduction of an online surveillance bill.
A House of Commons committee later found his privileges as an MP were violated when he was threatened by the activist group Anonymous in a series of videos posted online.
- With files from Canadian Press reporters Peter Rakobowchuk and Sidhartha Banerjee in Montreal
Police have confirmed a hand and a foot were found near the torso.
|@ JudyTrinhCBC : MTL police confrm a hand & foot found near torso. In #Ottawa LEFT foot L-hand found. TOR Police sifting thrgh mail now #ottnews #cbcott|
The Montreal Gazette's video of Magnotta's apartment nearby Pace Lucy and Decarie Blvd in Montreal.
CBC is reporting that the severed left hand was addressed to Liberals and that the murder was videotaped.
|@ ShirleeEngel : I have confirmed the second Canada Post package containing a human hand was addressed to Liberal Party and that suspect videotaped murder|
CTV gives a look into Luka Rocco Magnotta's apartment in Montreal. The severed torso was reportedly found nearby and the area has been the centre of the investigation.
Police have confirmed that Magnotta once dated Karla Homolka.
|@ monique_muise : Montreal police have confirmed that suspect in body parts killing dated Karla Homolka.|
CBC is reporting that Magnotta has served time in prison for multiple fraud convictions.
|@ CBCOttawa : According to @CBCToronto, Luka Rocco Magnotta has 4 fraud convictions dating back to 2005. He served a 16-month sentence. #cbcott #ottnews|
|@ SunNewsNetwork : Coming up on #SunNews: exclusive video of Luka Magnotta. Rogers 142/567, Shaw Digital 177, Bell 506.|
CBC reported earlier that Magnotta may have videotaped the murder and dismemberment. It is not known if this is the video that Sun News will air.
According to police the two packages mailed to Ottawa were sent from a fake address in Montreal.
Police have not been able to identify the victim from the body parts found. They do know the victim is a white male.
CBC is also reporting that there may be a video of the murder and dismemberment.
According to the CBC, the second package intercepted at Canada Post, was addressed to the Liberal Party headquarters.
A Google translation of the Montreal Police press release:
Montreal, May 30, 2012 - Investigators Major Crime Police of the City of Montreal (SPVM) looking for a suspect in connection with the 11 th homicide that occurred on its territory. Luka Rocco Magnotta, 29, and is wanted on a Canada-wide arrest warrant.
Luka Rocco Magnotta is also known by the pseudonyms Eric Clinton Newman and Vladimir Romanov. He is white, measuring 1.78 meters, weighs 61 kg, he has blue eyes and black hair.
Recall yesterday around 10 am 15, following a call from a citizen, police officers present at the rear of an apartment building in the Place Lucy, located in the Côte-des-Neiges. Agents make the discovery of human remains in a pile of garbage. The investigation was quickly transferred to the Major Crimes Section.
Investigative leads led investigators to a home Decarie Boulevard, also in the Côte-des-Neiges, where they conducted a search. In addition, biologists Laboratory of Forensic Science and Forensic Medicine were asked to analyze some elements of the scene.
Meanwhile, investigators are exploring the hypothesis that human remains found in Montreal, are related to human foot sent to the office of the Conservative Party of Canada in Ottawa yesterday and the package intercepted by Canada Post that contained a human hand. Currently, concrete elements, enabling the police to believe that events are linked. However, before concluding beyond doubt that a link exists, investigators await the results of pathological expertise.
Note that the SPVM works closely with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Ottawa Police on this issue.
Anyone with information about that person or see Luka Rocco Magnotta should immediately contact 911.
Police are saying they have not discovered other body parts elsewhere. They have not been able to identify the victim.
Cross-Canada warrant issued for 29-year-old suspect
Not a random act. Victim and suspect knew each other
|@ ShirleeEngel : Luka Rocco Magnotta suspected in the torso/foot/hand case is the same person that comes up in google searches on kitten cruelty: police|
Many reports on suspect's name, but we're waiting for police to confirm
|@ meghan_hurley : Magnotta is allegedly a former stripper and porn star with multiple websites depicting him in various photo spreads #ottnews|
|@ ShirleeEngel : This story is getting very disturbing. I'm hoping Montreal police can provide some more details for us.|
|@ ReporterGabe : There were more than 500 homicides reported to police in 2010. I wonder how many of those got the attention the one involving the torso has|
Investigators on Wednesday identified Luka Rocco Magnotta as a suspect in the mysterious case of a dismembered torso found in Snowdon on Tuesday, and are asking for the public’s help to locate him.
|@ mtlgazette : A police source has told The Gazette suspect in body parts case is Luka Rocco Magnotta. #bodyparts #MTL #ottnews http://t.co/zAIW9cPA|
Montreal Police just issued this statement:
Veuillez svp prendre note qu'AUCUN point de presse n'est prévu à 14 h, contrairement à l'information qui circule.
Nous enverrons un communiqué de presse vers 14 h 30.
Please note that NO press briefing is scheduled at 14 h (2 p.m. ET), contrary to information out there.
We will send a press release at 14 h 30.
We expect police to release a surveillance camera photo of the suspect at 2 p.m. ET. Stay tuned. We'll live blog the press conference
"The suspect and victim knew each other," Montreal police Cmdr. Ian Lafreniere told reporters. (CP)
Police have confirmed they are zeroing in on a suspect in the macabre case involving three body parts: the foot in a package opened at Conservative headquarters, a hand found at a Canada Post warehouse in Ottawa, and a torso in Montreal.
They all come from the same male victim, Montreal police confirmed Wednesday.
The packages in Ottawa were mailed from Montreal. Police shared other new details about the case Wednesday.
"The suspect and victim knew each other," Montreal police Cmdr. Ian Lafreniere told reporters.
A police officer removes a package containg a human foot from the Conservative Party headquarters in Ottawa on Tuesday, May 29, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
A police officer removes a package containing a human foot from the Conservative Party headquarters in Ottawa on Tuesday, May 29, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
A cameraman films outside the Conservative Party of Canada office in Ottawa, Tuesday, May 29, 2012. Police are investigating a suspicious package mailed to the headquarters of the Conservative Party of Canada.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
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