Miami police said Saturday it’s possible that a Canadian man arrested in Berlin on a murder charge last week also was responsible for an unsolved 2009 murder in Miami.
Possible. But not likely.
Both homicides involved dismemberment.
In the Canadian case, former porn star Luka Rocco Magnotta is accused of stabbing 33-year-old Montreal college student Jun Lin to death with an ice pick, then mailing severed body parts — including a hand and a foot — to various government offices.
In the Miami case, police still have no leads on the murder of 21 year-old Omar Laparra, whose dismembered body was found floating in plastic bags in Biscayne Bay in 2009.
Although the Magnotta case has dominated the Canadian news media for the last two weeks, Miami didn’t come into the story until a journalist asked local police about a possible connection.
"Why not look into it? Any agency with a similar case, we would look into it,” said Miami Sgt. Confesor Gonzalez, the lead investigator in the Laparra case. “However, the preliminary look shows the M.O. is different. In the Canadian case, it appeared to be domestic and the killer knew the victim while in our case, it appears to be random. Nonetheless, in the interest of being thorough, we will follow up with Montreal police."
Magnotta, 29, was arrested in Berlin after a worldwide manhunt that began after he posted a graphic 10-minute video of the murder online. Montreal media dubbed him ‘Canadian psycho.’ Magnotta, whose birth name is Eric Newman, had previously been in a relationship in Lin. Magnotta had also been accused by animal rights groups of torturing and killing cats on YouTube videos.
His attention-seeking antics don’t fit the circumstances surrounding Laparra’s death. A construction worker who regularly sent money back to his family in Guatemala, Laparra was last seen by his brother dancing at a club called El Mexicano in Little Havana. The blue-collar establishment catered to a mostly immigrant clientele and was not the kind of place frequented by Magnotta, who liked to project a flashy, jet-setting lifestyle on his website.
The only known link between the two cases: According to a report by The Canadian Press, someone going by the name luka-magnotta made several posts to online forums for fans of Lotus automobiles. The poster claimed to be living in Miami in 2010.
Herald Staff Writer David Ovalle contributed to this report.