Victim in body parts case was spa owner, mother of 3
Published Tuesday, August 21, 2012 9:24AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, August 21, 2012 9:11PM EDT
Toronto-area police have identified the victim in an ongoing investigation into severed body parts found in Toronto and Mississauga, Ont. as Hua Guang Liu.
Peel Regional Police Insp. George Koekkoek confirmed that a severed human head, foot and two hands discovered in a Mississauga park belonged to the missing Toronto woman.
Liu, 41, was the owner of the now-defunct Forget-Me-Not Spa in Toronto’s east end.
Police searched the spa as part of their investigation.
It is registered with the city as a “holistic spa,” but police believe that sex acts may have been sold there, just as they were when the spa was operated under a previous name, Clinique Royale.
Liu was last seen by friends who said they dropped her off at the spa, on Eglinton Avenue East near Kennedy Road, on Friday, Aug. 10.
CTV Toronto has learned that Liu may have been meeting with a prospective buyer for her business on the night she went missing, but police are still trying to confirm whether this is the case.
Koekkoek described Liu as a Canadian citizen of Chinese descent. She has one adult child and two younger children, who live with their father, Koekkoek said.
The grisly investigation began last week along the Credit River in Mississauga’s Hewick Meadows Park, where a severed human head, foot and two hands were discovered over three days of searching.
Koekkoek said Liu’s remains have been forensically linked to severed body parts found in an east-end Toronto park over the weekend. The two locations are about 50 kilometres apart.
Koekkoek said there are still “remains outstanding” at this point.
“While this remains a Peel investigation, and we are treating this as a homicide investigation, we continue to work with the full cooperation of the Toronto Police Service,” Koekkoek said.
CTV News has learned from a police source that the human remains found in Toronto’s east end on Saturday and Sunday consisted of two calves, an arm and a thigh.
Police surmised last week that the severed foot located in the Credit River might belong to an adult female, after observing the size of the remains and yellow nail polish on the victim’s toes.
Peel police began working with officers in Toronto after two separate discoveries of remains in the east-end district of Scarborough.
On Saturday, a man reported finding what appeared to be part of a human leg near a creek in Scarborough.
On Sunday, a Toronto Star reporter discovered a bag he said contained “fatty tissue” and bone while he was taking pictures of the police search effort.
Peel Regional Police executed a number of search warrants in their attempt to identify Liu, Koekkoek said. He added that none of those search warrants were related to the search for a suspect.
Police search motel and home
The owner of a Scarborough hotel told CTV News on Monday that police searched one of the inn’s rooms as part of their investigation.
The owner said police searched Room 39 at The Scarborough Inn, located at Kennedy Road and Sheppard Avenue, on Monday. The hotel is a short distance from where the human remains were found.
The inn’s owner told CTV News that police asked about someone who checked into the room around 3:30 a.m. on Saturday. That man stayed in the room for only an hour before checking out, the inn owner said.
Police also searched Liu’s home, which is near the Scarborough creek where some of her remains were found.
Neighbours told CTV Toronto that Lui was quiet and that she spoke little English.
She used the English name Heather and often kept to herself.
Property manager Helen Sardaro said the apparent murder has other business owners around the spa on edge.
“The community here is very shocked and upset and a lot of the women in the area are now scared,” Sardaro said.
Police, however, have said that they believe that Lui’s death was an isolated incident.
With files from CT V Toronto’s Tamara Cherry