Victim identified in Hollywood head mystery

2012-01-21 08:30
Los Angeles - Police have identified the victim whose severed head was found near the Hollywood sign, triggering a warning to hikers on trails leading to the iconic symbol, a coroner's official said on Friday.

But detectives gave no details about the dead man, whose feet and hands were found later nearby, pending further investigations into the gruesome killing, said coroner's assistant chief Ed Winter.

Two female dogwalkers made the initial discovery on Tuesday after noticing one of their dogs playing with an object, which on closer inspection turned out to be the human head, in a bag.

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) closed the park entrance near where the head was found in Bronson Canyon, and subsequently found the hands and feet in an operation involving up to 100 police and park rangers.

Local radio station KFI reported that police had detained a person on Thursday after going to an apartment building near the park, but an LAPD spokesperson said no-one had been arrested.

A bodyguard of Hollywood star Brad Pitt is among local residents who have been interviewed about the grisly find, but only because the security man lives close to the bottom of the hiking trail.

Police have also dismissed a theory that the killing might be linked to the discovery of a human torso in Arizona, said the spokesperson, Gregory Baek, noting that the victim had previously been estimated to be 40 to 60 years old.

The LA Times said the head - near what are known locally as the Bat Caves, where the TV Batman series was filmed - belonged to an Armenian American in his 40s with salt and pepper hair. LA has a large Armenian community.

Bronson Canyon, which police said they planned to re-open on Friday, has also long been used as a filming location for movie and TV productions.

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