Police ID Bagged-Up Corpse Floating in Pelican Harbor; Mystery Deepens

Yesterday, someone biking near the waterfront next to the 79th Street Causeway noticed a sketchy-looking bag bobbing in the water and called the cops. Police found human remains inside it. Later that afternoon, divers discovered another bag full of body parts about a quarter-mile away.

This morning, police identified the victim: 21-year-old Osben Laparra, Miami Police spokeswoman Officer Kenia Alfonso tells Riptide.

Cops were able to describe the victim as a man with medium- to shoulder-length black hair and a medium complexion, which prompted Laparra's brother to call in and identify him.

Now police have an even tougher question to answer: Why would someone kill Laparra, chop him into pieces, and toss him into Pelican Harbor? 

Laparra's brother told the Miami Herald that Osben worked in construction and had been missing since Saturday.

Riptide searched criminal records and turned up only one arrest on Laparra's record, a misdemeanor last August for disorderly intoxication.

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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink