Justin Lin, 33, identified as victim in grisly slaying
Published Friday, June 1, 2012 6:05PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, June 20, 2012 9:44AM EDT
MONTREAL- A man who was killed and then dismembered in a gruesome death that has garnered international headlines knew the suspect, Montreal police said Friday.
Police identified the slain man as Justin Lin, 33, or Lin Jun, as he was known in China. He was a Computer Science student at Concordia University.
Montreal police spokesman Ian Lafreniere confirmed that Lin knew Luka Rocco Magnotta, the suspect in the murder, but the police spokesman did not know when their acquaintance began.
The victim was last seen on May 24 and was reported missing five days later, the same day a torso was discovered stuffed in a suitcase in a heap of garbage behind a Montreal apartment building.
The crime scene was visited Friday night by two Asian men escorted by plainclothes policemen.
One of the men was said to be Lin's close personal friend and the other a friend from China who was helping with the situation. They were believed to be picking up items from the apartment.
Responsible, honest man
The first sign that Lin might have gone missing took place May 25 when he failed to show up at the convenience store where he had been working about 10 hours per week since last fall.
The store's owner Kankan Huang had nothing but praise for Lin.
"For sure, he was a responsible man. He did everything well, he was honest and never lied to me. He's was a nice guy and every customer said that also," said Huang.
Huang also expressed shock.
"So sad, so sad and I still think Montreal is a safe city. I know this kind of thing could happen anywhere but it's so sad, so bad. I don't want to believe it. You know, a couple of days ago he was alive he was standing in front of me."
Lin's school friends were deeply shaken by the horrible news.
"He was friendly and outgoing," said his English as a Second Language Classmate Ran Ping Jing. "I was shocked. I can't believe this. I thought the police maybe made some mistake."
Another school friend had thoughts for Lin's family.
"You know, Chinese families usually only have one child and he died abroad. This will damage them. This will crush them down," said fellow classmate Sinyang Zhang.
Lin lived in an apartment on Forest Hill Road in Cote-des-Neiges for several months.
The janitor at the building recalled Lin who arrived in Montreal one year ago and lived with a roommate who is currently believed to be in China.
"He was a quiet, decent guy," said superintendant Alfredo Hedriana. "One time he came to me for help because his oven didn't work, so I helped him. Since then I didn't see him again. Last Sunday, May 27th at 10 o'clock at night four of his friends came over asked if they can open the door because they were looking for him."
A neighbour told CTV Montreal that, "I didn't know him well. He seemed like a pretty sweet guy."
Counselling services available to students
Concordia University has been offering counselling to student to deal with the horrific story.
"It is never easy to deal with the loss of a loved one, particularly when the death is unforeseen," said Concordia President Frederick Lowy in a statement.
The case has made headlines worldwide as lurid details emerge about Magnotta's past as a porn actor, not to mention the bizarre Internet footprint he left behind, including links to videos that featured the torture killings of kittens.
Magnotta has also been linked to white supremacist websites where it's believed he posted racist musings about the creation of all-white countries.
One online group has been searching for Magnotta since 2010, when a YouTube video of a young man killing two kittens first appeared online that depicted the animals being put in an airtight bag and a vacuum used to suck out the air.
Magnotta, who appears to have travelled extensively, was apparently tracked down by a British tabloid in a pub near Wembley Stadium last year to confront him about the video.
"He was without doubt one of the most disturbed and disturbing individuals I have ever encountered," The Sun's Alex West wrote on Friday about his encounter six months ago.
Old photos have also surfaced showing Magnotta posing in front of the Eiffel Tower, the Trevi Fountain in Rome, New York's Penn Station, St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow's Red Square and beside Marilyn Monroe's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Luka Magnotta, who remains at large, is suspected of stabbing and dismembering the Chinese native, videotaping his act and mailing body parts to the offices of political parties.
The same day the torso was discovered, a foot was found in a package mailed to Conservative Party headquarters in Ottawa, and a hand was later spotted in a package at a postal warehouse in the city.
That package was addressed to the Liberal Party of Canada, and tests show the three body parts came from the same person.
Montreal police have issued a Canada-wide arrest warrant for Magnotta, who has also been added to Interpol's wanted persons list. He is believed to be in France. Lafreniere said Magnotta left Canada on May 26 but he did not want to specify his destination.
"I'm not going to say which country because, if I did that, people would limit their search to that country," he told a news conference.
"And as you know, people who travel in Europe can jump from one country to another without even having a passport. He could be anywhere in Europe and there's even been talk he might have returned to Canada under another identity."
Lafreniere confirmed that the warrant issued for Magnotta's arrest is for first-degree murder. It was originally for second-degree murder.
Magnotta has used myriad aliases over the years and legally had his name changed from Eric Clinton Kirk Newman on Aug. 12, 2006, while he still lived in Ontario before moving to Quebec. His online posts also suggest he has a longtime fascination with identity change and escape.
One neighbour said he last saw Magnotta last Friday.
That neighbour in a second-floor apartment, near Magnotta's, said he saw the man carrying a box to the post office. The neighbour, Richard Payette, said the box looked like the type that would be used to package hockey skates.
Much of the police investigation has focused on that apartment complex, in Cote-des-Neiges.
On Friday, French police announced that they are actively searching for the murder suspect and believe he is hiding in the country. A police official in France said the country's fugitive unit is currently searching for him as it appears as though Magnotta, 29, flew from Montreal to Paris last weekend.
At a Friday afternoon press conference police representative Ian Lafreniere said that 190 countries around the world had issued an arrest warrant for Magnotta, who left Montreal May 26 for an undisclosed destination in Europe.
On Friday night Montreal police representative Ian Lafreniere said that Magnotta is sought on charges of murder as well as the following other crimes: offering an indignity to a dead human body or human remains (182 of the criminal code); publishing materials of an obscene matter (163), using the postal system to transmit obscene, indecent, immoral or scurrilous material (168) and stalking-related offenses (264).
Foreign Affairs offers condolences
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.
Meanwhile, a gay porn website based in Florida has sought to distance itself from work Magnotta did there in 2005.
Lisa Turner of Badpuppy Enterprises released a statement saying the company learned of a "very creepy connection" with the suspected killer.
On Friday, Turner told The Canadian Press that Magnotta appeared in one video and photo shoot for Badpuppy in November 2005.
"Badpuppy has had no contact or connection of any kind with the model, since the November 2005 shoot was completed," she wrote in an email.
With a report from CTV.ca News Staff