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Human foot, hand mailed to B.C. schools

Tyler Orton, Michael Mui and Erica Bulman, QMI Agency

A Vancouver Police cruiser is seen leaving False Creek Elementary in Vancouver, British Columbia on June 5, 2012. (CARMINE MARINELLI/QMI Agency)

A Vancouver Police cruiser is seen leaving False Creek Elementary in Vancouver, British Columbia on June 5, 2012. (CARMINE MARINELLI/QMI Agency)

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VANCOUVER - 

Vancouver police are investigating after separate packages containing human remains were mailed to two local schools Tuesday afternoon.

Police wouldn’t say whether the hand and foot that arrived at the schools were linked to the case of Luka Magnotta, a Toronto native arrested in connection with the murder and dismemberment of a Chinese student in Montreal.

“There is no indication any students or staff have been targeted at either school,” deputy chief Warren Lemcke told a press conference in Vancouver Tuesday night.

The first package, containing a human hand, was opened by a staff member at False Creek Elementary School shortly after 1 p.m. Another package, containing a foot, was found by staff members at St. George’s School later that afternoon.

“The main thing right now is determining … who belongs to those body parts. Once that question gets answered then it becomes much easier in terms of putting the pieces of the puzzle together,” said Const. Lindsey Houghton, adding the Vancouver Police Department is liaising with Montreal cops.

Counsellors will be available at both schools Wednesday to support students and staff, school officials said.

“We felt shutting down the school wouldn’t make the situation any better,” saidschool board spokesman Kurt Heinrich.

Just hours before the grisly findings, Montreal police had warned more gruesome discoveries could be on the horizon in the body parts case.

Several parts from Chinese student Jun Lin's dismembered body are still unaccounted for, including a hand and a foot, police said. He was murdered almost two weeks ago.

“If, in fact, it is connected to the case in Montreal, then that will answer a lot of questions,” Houghton told QMI Agency.

“That … will help continue their investigation as it perhaps progresses to British Columbia,” she added. “If it’s not connected then, of course, that will open up a whole other investigation.”

The remains will be examined by the B.C. Coroners Service, who’ve called their special identification and disaster response units.

“Both as mayor and as a father, I find today's events at False Creek Elementary and St. George's School to be deeply disturbing and repugnant, and the VPD will have my full support at every stage of this investigation,” Mayor Gregor Robertson said in a statement.

“The police investigation is still in its early stages, but it is my hope that justice for these acts will be delivered swiftly.”

It remained unclear whether the packages were sent to the schools through the Canada Post mail or other methods. Investigators will try to trace their origins.

In the Montreal case, a foot was mailed to Conservative party headquarters in Ottawa, and a hand was found in a Canada Post sorting centre, destined for Liberal offices in the nation's capital.

A janitor found Lin's torso in a suitcase on May 29, triggering an international manhunt leading to the capture in Germany of Magnotta, a former stripper and porn star.

Detectives found other body parts in the garbage outside Magnotta's apartment building, and inside the unit.