Police find two hands in Mississauga, Ont. park
Published Friday, August 17, 2012 7:53AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, August 17, 2012 10:04PM EDT
Police found two severed human hands in a Mississauga, Ont., river Friday afternoon, following the discovery of a human head and a foot during the previous two days.
Sgt. Pete Brandwood told reporters Friday afternoon that officers found the hands in the Credit River, south of where hikers located a foot on Wednesday while they were walking along a trail in Hewick Meadows park.
That discovery launched a police sweep of the downtown park, with dive teams finding a severed human head in the river Thursday.
“The likelihood of it being the same person, common-sense wise, is probably pretty high,” said Brandwood. Police, however, have not confirmed a direct link between the human remains.
The left and right hands were found at about 1 p.m. and were downstream of where the foot was found.
There were no distinguishing features on the hands, he said.
Brandwood said police may have also made another discovery in the park Friday afternoon downstream of where the hands were found, but that discovery later turned out to be animal remains.
The search continued in the park until 8 p.m. Friday, and was expected to resume Saturday morning.
“If we find one thing, and we keep finding more, eventually we are going to find everything,” Brandwood said. “I hope that comes to light. Rest assured, we’re doing everything we can.”
Earlier Friday, police said that there’s no connection between the human remains found in the river and body part murder suspect Luka Rocco Magnotta.
Peel police Const. George Tudos also told reporters at the scene that authorities don’t believe the severed head and foot is connected to a missing person’s case involving 16-year-old Mila Johnson of Brampton who has been missing since Aug. 3.
However, he said that investigators are no closer to identifying the victim and have not found any other evidence connected to the body parts since the search began Wednesday.
Meanwhile, tests on all the human remains found so far are being conducted at the Centre for Forensic Science.
“We’re still waiting for results,” said Tudos, adding that a post-mortem exam is scheduled for Friday morning.
“These tests do take time and hopefully as soon as we got more information we will be updating you.”
The findings cannot be ruled a murder until police have the definitive cause of death, Brandwood said.
“At the moment, we don’t have a cause of death but we can say that, common sense wise, we can say that there has been some foul play and this isn’t something that we see very often in our jurisdiction and it’s a pretty unique case, unfortunately, in a negative way,” he told reporters.
"Someone's mother, sister, or aunt or daughter has unfortunately met foul play and our main priority is to give the family some closure to this," he added.
Homicide detectives said on Friday that they would be focusing their attention on all missing person cases within Peel region and neighbouring jurisdictions.
Meanwhile, local residents are anxious.
“It's horrific. I’m worried for all the families. I’m hoping it's not a daughter that we know, a girl that we know, said one resident.
The rushing waters coming down the Credit River could slow investigators down as they search the river. Tudos, however, said rising waters could help move items down stream.
“It could work in both ways at this time and we’re hoping that conducting these foot searches and using cadaver dogs here today that we’re going to be hopefully finding some more evidence so we can identity the victim.”
Peel police confirmed that the discovery of the foot is thought to belong to a female, which was severed at the ankle.
“It’s a right foot, and distinctive on this foot, was the yellow nail polish,” Peel Regional Police Acting Insp. Randy Cowan told reporters Thursday.
The foot was not in a bag and there was no footwear attached to it when it was found.
The size of the remains do not suggest they are from a child.
Police have also been finding clothing.
Investigators will be travelling along the Credit River on Friday and Tudos said the search area will be expanded, if needed.
The marine team is searching the water and a dive team is on standby. Tudos said 20 to 30 officers are searching the area on foot.
Given how far apart some of the parts have been found, police are expanding their search to wider areas, closer to Lake Ontario.
They say the remains may have drifted a long way down the fast-flowing Credit River from where they were possibly dumped.
“We’re not limiting ourselves to any small perimeter, we’re going wherever we can to try and solve this case,” said Tudos.
A large part of Hewick Meadows Park remains closed to the public as the investigation continues.
Anyone with information is asked to call police at 905-453-2121 ext. 3205 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).