MONTREAL - The subject of an international manhunt for the gruesome killing and dismemberment of a student in Montreal was tracked in France over the weekend but police aren't ruling out the possibility he could still be on the move.
Montreal police confirmed Sunday that Luka Rocco Magnotta was in the European country as recently as Friday.
"The man was seen in France, that's what French authorities told us," police spokesman Ian Lafreniere told reporters. Lafreniere cautioned that Magnotta may no longer be in that country, and wouldn't rule out the possibility he had headed elsewhere in Europe or could eventually try to return to Canada.
"He can travel, he's someone who has been known to travel, so we're not taking any chances and we want to keep an open mind," Lafreniere said. "We've received more than 360 tips, it's huge, people really want to help."
The man billed as the "Canadian psycho" in international press is wanted in the slaying of Jun Lin, 33, a Chinese student at Montreal's Concordia University. Lin’s torso was found in a suitcase that had been left for garbage collection outside Magnotta's Montreal apartment last week. Other severed body parts, including a hand and a foot, were mailed to the offices of political parties in Ottawa.
French media reported Sunday that personal belongings of the porn actor were found in a hotel in suburban Paris. The reports said police discovered pornographic magazines as well as air sickness bags from the airplane he took to Paris from Montreal.
Le Figaro reported police were able to pinpoint part of Magnotta's itinerary through his cellphone activity. It was unclear whether Magnotta was still in the Paris area on Sunday, but Le Figaro reported that authorities had beefed up their presence at railway stations and airports.
Interpol has issued an international alert out for Magnotta, 29, who was born Eric Clinton Newman and has also used the name Vladimir Romanov. Pictures posted Sunday on Magnotta's page on the Interpol website show a man with dark hair and a black Mickey Mouse shirt passing through airport security. The airport wasn't identified.
Magnotta arrived at the Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport on May 26 and was later identified on surveillance cameras, according to Le Figaro. He was apparently put up one night by a man who later contacted authorities after realizing who his guest had been.
One published report said Magnotta was spotted in a bar and in a hotel where he spent two nights. Another French newspaper, Le Parisien, quoted the manager of a bar who said Magnotta ordered a soft drink at his establishment last Wednesday night and appeared "very nervous."
The bar manager said the fugitive left with a man who had an ''impressive physique."
An official in the Paris prosecutor’s office, speaking on condition of anonymity, said police are looking into the alleged sightings but had no additional details.
Meanwhile, the Chinese embassy in Ottawa has issued a statement advising Chinese visitors to Canada to take safety precautions.
_ With files from The Associated Press and Michel Dolbec
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