Hervey Medellin: Hollywood Body Parts Victim ID'd
Updated at the bottom: The Times ID's the victim. Our headline has changed and this piece was wholly rewritten after we picked up a false report of an arrest in the case. First posted at 6:54 p.m. Thursday.
Reports of an arrest in the grisly case of human body parts found this week in the Hollywood Hills were premature at the least, the LAPD says.
A tweet by CBS Los Angeles stating there had been an arrest in the case today set off a flurry of calls to the LAPD, prompting it to state tonight that ...
... there have been NO arrests made in the homicide investigation involving the discovery of body parts in the Hollywood Hills.
The department asked reporters to stop calling about it.
When we asked the LAPD's Karen Rayner about the reported arrest earlier, she said, "That's what we're hearing from you guys (meaning the media), but nothing from our people."
The discovery Tuesday afternoon included a head, and as investigators continued to scour the area, they came up with two hands and two feet.
The head find was made by a dog walker, Lauren Kornberg, in Bronson Canyon Park, which is not far from the Hollywood sign.
The woman reportedly took a photos posing with the head, pictures that were later being shopped to tabloid outlets.
The victim was said to be a man in his 40s or 50s.
KFI AM 640 got this scoop:
Detectives investigating the discovery of a human head and body parts in Bronson Canyon searched an apartment building and car in Hollywood Thursday and were questioning a man about the case, LAPD officials and sources told KFI NEWS.
Investigators wearing raid jackets and accompanied by a police photographer were seen entering the lobby of the 3-story apartment building, located close to the LAPD's Hollywood Station, and due south of the park where the human remains were found.
The Los Angeles Times also reported that search warrants had been served this afternoon as part of the investigation.
KCAL9, CBS' sister station, reported that at least one "person of interest" had been questioned.
A coroner's investigator told us tonight that a "security hold" had been placed on its side of the case, meaning that coroner's officials couldn't tell the media the identity of the deceased, if it knows, or say anything about the investigation.
The hold was placed on the case at the behest of the LAPD's Robbery Homicide Division, the official said.
[Update at 11:35 a.m. Friday]: Gigi Graciette of Fox 11 News says the victim had been reported missing in Mexico by his boyfriend. She calls it a "crime of passion" and predicted via Twitter: " ... Arrest soon."
The Times says coroner's officials know the ID of the victim but can't, as we pointed out above, give it out. The paper says cops searched an apartment on Delongpre Avenue in Hollywood yesterday and towed away a silver Honda, presumably for further examination.
[Update at 5:15 p.m. Friday] NBC4's Patrick Healy named a man missing from the searched apartment (we're going to hold off until cops confirm it). He said the man was a 67-year-old retiree who owned the Honda that had been taken yesterday by investigators.
A friend of the missing man, Vilma Aguilar, said he had worked for Mexicana airlines and was, as she told CBS2, "like an uncle" to her.
Healy said she was confident the murder victim is her friend.
His roommate reportedly said he went missing right before the New Year, when he took off for a trip to Tijuana, according to NBC's report. The roommate had been questioned by police, Healy said.
[Update at 6:19 p.m. Friday]: The Los Angeles Times published the same name mentioned by Healy, Hervey Medellin, and said that law enforcement sources report the remains belong to him.
The paper says he was 66.