Police identify remains of woman found scattered in Toronto-area waterways

Steve Mertl
·National Affairs Contributor

Police have identified the remains of a woman whose body was chopped up and scattered through the suburban Toronto area.

Peel Regional Police say the body parts belong to Hua Guang Liu, a 41-year-old single mother from Scarborough, Ont., last seen alive on Aug. 10, CBC News reported Tuesday.

Insp. George Koekkoek told a news conference Liu owned a now-defunct spa in Scarborough, adding police have executed search warrants in their investigation, including at a Scarborough motel.

"We are working on suspect information," he said.

It's the second time this year Canadians have been gripped by news about a sensational murder case involving scattered body parts.

Luka Rocco Magnotta, originally from Scarborough, is charged with first-degree murder in the death and dismemberment of Chinese student Lin Jun in Montreal last May. Police say the discovery of Liu's body is not related to the Magnotta case.

Magnotta, who has pleaded not guilty, is alleged to have killed Lin in Magnotta's apartment and cut up the corpse — the whole thing allegedly recorded on video that turned up on the web.

[Related: Luka Magnotta's lawyer Pierre Panaccio will have 'unusual challenges']

Police allege Magnotta then mailed some of Lin's body parts to the Conservative party's national headquarters in Ottawa and schools in Vancouver. Lin's torso was discovered in a suitcase among trash outside Magnotta's apartment building, and his head was found in a Montreal park.

And two decades ago, two of Canada's most notorious killers tried to dispose of one of their victims through dismemberment.

Paul Bernardo and his fiancee Karla Homolka kidnapped 14-year-old Leslie Mahaffy on June 15, 1991, two weeks before their wedding.

The teen was raped repeatedly over several days, then murdered, her body cut up and encased in cement blocks that were dumped into a lake near St. Catharines, Ont. The remains were discovered two weeks later.

The discovery last week of a woman's head, foot and two hands in the Credit River, which flows through suburban Mississauga, sparked a massive search for other parts.

Coincidentally, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Conservative supporters had been picnicking in a park along the river amid tight security last week, unaware their scenic venue would be scoured for body parts just days later.

The search led to an arm, two calves and a thigh being discovered around West Highland Creek, in Scarborough, near where Liu lived in a townhouse, the Toronto Star said.

Star reporter Dale Brazao stumbled on a plastic bag of remains in the creek when he stopped to take a photo. He spotted the bag at his feet and poked a small hole in it.

"What I saw made me sick," Brazao wrote. "I saw bone, I saw skin, and I saw fatty tissue. The smell was worse."