News

Magnotta reportedly spotted in Paris

By Giuseppe Valiante, National Bureau

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MONTREAL - 

Luka Magnotta was reportedly spotted at a Paris hotel around the same time Montreal police discovered the dismembered body of his alleged victim.

QMI Agency spoke with a receptionist at the Hotel des Batignolles in Paris, where someone believed to be Magnotta was allegedly seen on Tuesday, May 29.

Harold, who would not give his last name, told QMI Agency on Sunday that the manager of a bar adjacent to the hotel told French police that Magnotta entered the hotel with another man Tuesday evening.

Harold said the hotel camera footage recorded "two Canadian men" checking in Tuesday afternoon. However, police said they can't be sure it was Magnotta, the receptionist said.

Montreal police confirmed Sunday that suspected killer Luka Magnotta, 29, had been spotted in Paris.

French media are referring to Magnotta as "The Dismemberer."

Interpol on Sunday released photos of the fugitive at some sort of security area, but did not give details about where it was located.

He is suspected of killing and dismembering Jun Lin, 33, a Chinese national and student at Montreal's Concordia University.

Lin's remains were found Tuesday morning stuffed in suitcase behind a Montreal apartment building. Magnotta is suspected to have mailed parts of Lin's body to Canadian political parties.

Montreal Police wouldn't say how they received the information, nor would they tell QMI Agency if they knew when or where in Paris Magnotta was allegedly seen.

Montreal police said they believed Magnotta fled the country before the day Lin's body was reported missing and was discovered.

The hotel receptionist said the man who allegedly saw Magnotta "categorically believed" that it was the suspected killer. The two-star Hotel des Batignolles is located in the centre of Paris, near the city's most famous tourist areas.

"But we are not sure it was Magnotta," Harold said. "The police came and looked at video camera footage of the two men. And the police didn't even bother to take the footage with them."

"The footage shows two men, one has a hat and long hair sticking out behind it, and the other man is smaller and looks strong," he said. "I want to be clear, we don't know if one of the men was Magnotta.

"Magnotta seems to have many faces and we can't be sure."

AFP reported Sunday that a source said French police have allegedly been able to track Magnotta's whereabouts through his cellphone.

The source allegedly told AFP that Magnotta was seen at several hotels in the Paris area. AFP reported that Magnotta had already left when police arrived to a Parisian hotel on Saturday.

French investigators allegedly found some of Magnotta's belongings in a hotel room, including porn magazines and plane vomit bags from the flight between Canada and France, AFP reported.

Harold told QMI Agency the hotel room that was searched by police was not at Hotel des Batignolles.

France's Le Parisien newspaper reported Sunday that the manager of a bar in Paris said he saw Magnotta in his establishment on Wednesday night. The manager, who didn't want to give his name, said the man he thought was Magnotta looked "very nervous" and drinking a soft drink.

The French media has reported that other witnesses have claimed to have spotted Magnotta in Paris.

A source told QMI Agency that Magnotta and Lin were dating, and Magnotta became angry when Lin broke off the relationship and started dating another man. The source said it was Lin's new partner who reported Lin missing to police on May 29.

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