Peel Regional Police say Chun Qi Jiang, 40, of Toronto, appeared in a Brampton, Ont., courthouse Monday on a charge of second-degree murder. He was remanded in custody until Sept. 10.
Jiang, a construction labourer, had been in a four-year-long relationship with 41-year-old Guang Hua Liu that had recently ended, said Peel Police Insp. George Koekkoek.
"He became a person of interest or a suspect early on in the investigation," Koekkoek told a news conference at police headquarters.
The inspector could not say when the couple had separated or if they had ever lived together.
"We're still trying to flesh out those details so I'm not at liberty to go any further on that part," he said. "They were boyfriend and girlfriend, is my information. They were dating."
Jiang was arrested sometime Sunday in Toronto.
Court documents show he lived near a townhouse where Liu resided with her eldest son. According to police, her two younger children live with their father.
Police would not say whether they are searching or have searched Jiang's residence in east-end Toronto, but yellow police tape could be seen encircled around the brown townhouse Monday.
Koekkoek said Jiang is a Canadian citizen of Chinese descent and was not previously known to police. He immigrated to Canada in 2002 — the same year Liu arrived.
Liu was reported missing on Aug. 11, one day after her friends dropped her off in front of a now-defunct spa she owned called the Forget Me Not Health Centre in east Toronto.
On Aug. 15, her right foot was found in the Credit River in Mississauga, Ont., about 45 kilometres west of her home.
Liu's head and hands were later discovered in the same river in the Hewick Meadows Park area.
Days later, two calves, a thigh and an arm were found in West Highland Creek, just blocks from where she lived.
Forensic tests determined all the remains belonged to Liu, but police still do not know how she died.
Jong Soon Suh, who owned a dry cleaning business in the same building as the spa, said that the day after Liu disappeared, a man claiming to be her boyfriend came into the shop passing out Missing Person posters.
Police said the suspect is not the same man who reported her missing.
Investigators are still zeroing in on the location of the murder.
"We've obviously got a number of crime scenes with where the body was located, but where the actual murder took place, we're still working on that," Koekkoek said.
He said police will remain tight lipped because the investigation is ongoing, and the search for the remaining missing body parts is continuing.
Koekkoek could not say whether investigators expect to make more arrests or lay more charges.
"This case is very much still under investigation," he said. "Going forward, we're still requesting from the public your assistance."