2 hands found in Mississauga river search

Police west of Toronto say they have found two severed hands in their search for body parts in a Mississauga river where a head and a foot had previously been discovered.

"The likelihood of it being the same person is, common-sense wise, probably pretty high," said Sgt. Pete Brandwood of Peel Regional Police, the force responsible for the area that includes Mississauga.

He said during a mid-afternoon news conference that one hand was found near the foot but downstream on the Credit River, while the other hand was a considerable distance downstream, though he couldn't say specifically how far. Both hands, a left and a right, were found early Friday afternoon.

Police also made a third discovery during the afternoon, but the coroner later determined it was animal remains.

At an earlier news conference, Const. George Tudos said "at this point we're no closer to identifying the victim," but added that police hope tests at the Centre for Forensic Sciences will provide more information. The hands have been sent to the centre.

Investigators believe the body parts were severed in the last few weeks, adding there's no evidence of a connection to the case of Luka Rocco Magnotta, who is accused of the murder and dismemberment of a Montreal student.

"There is no evidence at all to indicate that there is any connection to that incident," Tudos said.

Friday's search of the water, parklands and surrounding rocky hills, involving dozens of officers, began to wrap up around 7 p.m. Tudos said the search will continue on the weekend.

"We're just hoping that the weather plays a role here to assist us and that we can complete this investigation and have some answers," he said, noting that identifying the victim is a priority.

Investigators found the head late Thursday morning about a kilometre north of the spot at Hewick Meadows Park where the foot was discovered. Police can't say if the body parts were placed where they were found or if they drifted there from another point upstream in the river, which flows from headwaters above the Niagara Escarpment to Lake Ontario.

Investigators have also not yet been able to confirm if the foot and head belonged to the same person.

The foot was discovered Wednesday by a group of people who had been hiking in the park near Eglinton Avenue West and Mississauga Road. They spotted it in the shallows of the Credit River, which runs through the park, police said.

A coroner later confirmed it was a human right foot with painted yellow toenails that had been severed from the ankle down.

The presence of yellow nail polish has led police to suspect the foot belonged to a woman.

Police have said the head doesn't appear to be that of a child, and appears to be female.

Tudos said at the Friday morning news conference that investigators hope the examination by the forensics team will provide them with "DNA, size, height and weight" of the victim.

Officers are also sifting through missing person reports.

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