Back in August 2010, Luka Rocco Magnotta joined Miami Beach 411 and posted a new thread to the popular discussion board: "I just moved to Miami and love it," he announced over a self portrait in Moscow. Later that day, he posted photos of himself in a Lotus, supposedly parked in Miami, with an invitation: "Anyone wanna go for a drive?"
Today, Magnotta is in custody in Germany, accused of filming himself murdering a Canadian college student with an ice pick then mailing his severed body parts to government offices and schools. Now, the Miami Beach 411 posts have caught the eye of one Miami detective, who's investigating whether Magnotta had any links to a mysterious Little Havana murder that ended with the victim's body parts washing ashore in Biscayne Bay in plastic bags.
"If Mr. Rocco was in Miami at the time of my murder then yeah, I'll be definitely looking at him," Sgt. Confessor Gonzalez tells Canada's CBC News.
Gonzalez's case is one of the strangest unsolved homicides on the Miami PD's cold case roster. The victim, a 21-year-old Guatemalan named Osben Laparra, was last seen leaving a Calle Ocho nightclub on May 30, 2009. Three days later, Laparra's body parts started washing up out of the bay, all separately bagged in plastic.
"We were never able to put it together," Gonzalez says of the murder. "It makes no sense at all why someone would do this."
Enter Magnotta, whose own accused crimes make little sense. A low-budget porn star who was previously accused of being romantically involved with Canada's most famous female serial killer and of killing kittens on camera and uploading the footage to the web, he was arrested last week in a Berlin Internet cafe after an intense manhunt.
Police say Magnotta killed and dismembered Jun Lin, a 33-year-old student in Montreal. Lin's body parts later began arriving by mail to Canadian political parties, and police started looking into Magnotta's long and strange Internet trail.
The Miami Beach 411 posts are a new piece in that puzzle. Magnotta's threads were just reactivated by the forum's moderator this morning. In the first thread, Magnotta leaves a rambling statement about moving to Miami and ditching "haters" over a photo of himself. Here's his full post, published Aug. 17 and titled "Strong Self Esteem":
I just moved to Miami and love it.
We all have a mental picture of who we are, how we look, what we're good at, and what our weaknesses might be. While I was always a popular and outgoing teen, when I was 20 years old I entered the world of Adult Movies and it was pretty intimidating. However, its always been my philosophy "One life is not enough" so I just said to myself, alot of other guys would never have the courage and dont look as good as me, so they probley wouldnt get this lucky oppertunity. We develop this picture over time, starting when we're very young kids.
The term self-image is used to refer to a person's mental picture of himself or herself. A lot of our self-image is based on interactions we have with other people and our life experiences. This mental picture (our self-image) contributes to our self-esteem.
Every day I thank god for giving me my looks and brains. Does anyone else on here realise that they lucked out in life with looks and brains? And just because you dont agree with my thinking doesnt make me wrong... freedom of speach means you dont have to agree with everything I say.. I can still say it. Are you surrounded by people who try to bring you down and be negative?
I have been surrounded by haters for years, they come into my life...see that I have so much more then them going for me... they get jealous and try to bring me down. Ive gone through this so many times, people are so fake.
Instead of them wanting to be my friend or lover they end up becomming my enemy...pretty sad for them. Im living my life to the fullest and they can kiss my ass.
Later that same day, Magnotta posted a series of photos of himself in a Lotus, including this one with the caption "Luka Magnotta Miami Florida 2010 Lotus":
Here was his message in this post:
Guys whats up, I just moved to Miami, my names Luka and I love it here, so much fun and so many things to do. I just got a new car as my graduation gift, I just finished school and im glad to be in the sun and having fun here. Anyone wanna go for a drive or show me around get back.
Several commenters wrote back (including Photography is Not a Crime's Carlos Miller), but Magnotta never replied to their questions.
The posts are fascinating, but did Magnotta actually spend any time in Miami? It seems doubtful.
Doug, a Miami Beach 441 moderator, notes that Magnotta's IP address shows he was still in Toronto when he posted the two threads about being in Miami. That makes it extremely unlikely that the Lotus photo was actually taken in town (plus, that backdrop doesn't look like any corner in Miami we recognize).
It seems much more likely that Magnotta, who was a self-promoting Internet attention seeker, decided to pretend he was cruising Miami in luxury cars for some reason.
As for Gonzalez, the Miami detective, he wouldn't be doing his job if he didn't check out links to Magnotta in the Laparra case.
But he's hardly alone in hoping the "Canadian cannibal" might be a suspect in a long-unsolved murder; police in Hollywood, California and another Canadian town are also chasing similar threads.
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In response to the many inquiries that our office has received regarding any possible connection in the recent Montreal homicide case involving suspect Luka Rocco Magnotta and our case involving victim LaParra. Please note that last week a reporter from Canada called our department and informed us of a homicide in Canada where the victim was dismembered and wanted to know if we had similar cases since they had information that the offender may have visited Miami. Homicide detectives have contacted Canadian authorities and it does not appear at this time that their case is connected to the our case which occurred in June of 2009, and it is apparent at this time that this suspect was not in Miami during this murder.If new information evolves to the contrary, then the status of the case will be updated.
Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes. Tim Elfrink writes about politics, crime and South Florida insanity @timelfrinkmia.