© MySpaceLuka Magnotta in front of the Eiffel Tower in 2010. French police appear convinced that Magnotta is in their midst.
Warning: Story contains graphic content

MONTREAL - A Paris hotel manager told the Montreal Gazette on Saturday that his neighbour, the manager of a bar and restaurant, confirmed to police that Montreal fugitive and suspected killer Luka Rocco Magnotta had a drink at his bar on Thursday.

Sbyibi el Bachir, manager of Hotel Studio des Batignolles in the 17th arrondissement in Paris, said in an interview that Dominique Massonneau, manager of Le Petit Batignolles, told him on Saturday that Magnotta stopped by his moderately-priced cafe - and that Massonneau had reported it to police.

The information could not be independently verified immediately.

Magnotta, 29, a self-confessed Canadian porn star wanted in connection with a killing that saw a torso left in a suitcase and a hand and foot mailed to the Ottawa offices of the Liberal and Conservative parties fled to Europe, most likely Paris, police believe.

Born Eric Newman, Magnotta is also known to wear wigs and disguises, Lafrenière said. He also has an extensive Internet presence including blog entries, a website and a Facebook page.

© MySpaceLuka Magnotta in Paris in 2010.
Agence France-Presse reported that a witness told the news service that investigators looked at security tapes at Le Petit Batignolles Friday and came out with soft drink bottles, handling them gingerly, apparently in an effort to avoid erasing fingerprints.
Body Parts Mystery Timeline

10 a.m. A janitor discovers a human torso in a suitcase in Montreal in the city's Snowdon district
11:15 a.m. A receptionist at the Conservative Party of Canada headquarters receives a package via Canada Post, and opens it partially before calling police
11:20 a.m. Ottawa police respond to a call from the party headquarters about a suspicious package stained with blood
2:40 p.m. Police confirm there is a human foot inside the package
5:30 p.m. Police emerge from the Conservative party headquarters carrying a yellow plastic bag with the package inside
9:30 p.m. Ottawa police confirm they found a second body part - a hand - inside a package at the Ottawa Postal Terminal, where mail is processed.

10 a.m. Police confirm both packages containing the body parts originated in Montreal
12 p.m. Montreal police say the torso, foot and hand all belong to the same person; say suspect and victim know each other
2:30 p.m. Montreal police announce they are looking for suspect Luka Rocco Magnotta

9 a.m. Magnotta is added to Interpol's most wanted list
A man who identified himself as the manager of Le Petit Batignolles - presumably Massonneau - told the Gazette: "I know nothing."

"If you want answers, call the police," he said before hanging up.

In a second, shorter call, he refused to give his name or say if he had been asked by police to stay mum.

The modestly priced bar/restaurant on Truffaut St. that specializes in Algerian cuisine is in the 17th arrondissement near Place Clichy, where many reasonably priced hotels and restaurants are located. It's also near the Parc Monceau, where joggers and families mix with others down on their luck.

Bachir said that Massonneau did not report Magnotta's presence on Thursday because he had never heard of the alleged killer accused of dismembering a recently arrived Chinese immigrant in the Cote des Neiges area of Montreal.

On Friday, authorities in Monaco were forced to quash rumours the target of an international manhunt for an alleged killing and dismemberment had been arrested in the tiny European principality.

As Montreal police revealed there was a possibility Magnotta could have returned to Canada under an assumed identity after fleeing for France on May 26, rumours the fugitive was apprehended in Monaco circulated on Twitter and were published on a English-speaking website in France.

But police in Monaco said "they had no seen or heard from the fugitive" when contacted by the Ottawa Citizen. The mere mention of the word "Canada" prompted an officer to ask: "Oh, are you asking about the man who was decapitated?"

On Friday, Montreal police also denied Magnotta had been arrested.

Asked if Montreal police are aware of the reported Magnotta sighting in Paris, Const. Raphael Bergeron said "we don't conduct business in the public arena."

"But if you are aware of this, I imagine that French authorities have also relayed that information to our investigators here . . ."

Bachir said that two police officers - he could not say from which squad - interviewed him Friday.

"They showed me a couple of pictures and wanted to know if this guy had ever been here. I told them no.

"Then they said that if ever I see him, to call them. I said yes. Obviously.

"So then I talked with Dominique today (Saturday), and that's when he told me that this guy had been at his bar on Thursday."

Bachir said that Magnotta would have stood out at his hotel, which is used heavily as a transit point by families on social assistance.

"It would not be the proper place for someone like that."

French police appear convinced that Magnotta is in their midst.

Various news outlets reported Saturday that "targeted searches" by police included the descent on Le Petit Batignolles.

AFP said that its source could not say whether investigators were going to places Magnotta may have frequented on previous visits or whether they had more recent leads.

The newspaper Liberation reported Saturday that unspecified police corps were "acting in the greatest discretion" and conducting "targeted searches."

Rumours - but few new facts - are swirling in France concerning the possible presence of Canada's most infamous fugitive.

France-Soir showed a photo of Magnotta posing in front of the Eiffel Tower at night. It was evidently taken on a previous trip, but the paper did not date the photo.

Detectives Friday released the name of the victim of the brutal slaying, and conceded Magnotta could have come back to Canada using a different identity.

"All I can tell you know is that he left Montreal [and] he may have returned under another identify but we're engaged in a worldwide search," said Cmdr. Ian Lafrenière during a press conference.

"We don't know exactly which identity he used to travel. He has three different ones."

© HandoutMagnotta's alleged victim is Lin Jun, a 33-year-old Concordia University student from Wuhan, Hubei, China. He was last seen on May 24, police said, and reported missing on May 29. So far, authorities know very little about the victim.
Magnotta's alleged victim is Lin Jun, a 33-year-old Concordia University student from Wuhan, Hubei, China. He was last seen on May 24, police said, and reported missing on May 29. So far, authorities know very little about the victim.

Lafrenière said the victim was "engaged in sort of a relation" with the suspect, but couldn't say for how long.

"You must understand, [the victim] doesn't even have any relatives in Montreal," he said.

Officials from Concordia said Jun was an undergraduate student in the faculty of engineering and computer science.

"It is never easy to deal with the loss of a loved one, particularly when the death is unforeseen. Our hearts go out to his family and friends during this very difficult time," said the university's president and vice-chancellor Frederick Lowy, in a statement emailed to students.

Faculty, students and staff have been offered counselling, Lowy said.

Lafrenière said Friday police believe the murder happened sometime in the evening between May 24 and 25.

Police do have airport information about Magnotta, he said, but they are choosing not to make it public.

"We're learning a lot about this individual ... [Magnotta's] past is not all that pleasant, I would say. Apparently he would kill animals and that sort of thing. There are investigations ongoing outside of Montreal as well."

One day after Lin's family reported they were unable to contact him, a brand new suitcase appeared among the trash in an alley behind Magnotta's apartment building.

For some reason garbage collectors did not take it away in their regular pick-up that day, and on Tuesday the building's janitor opened the stinking bag to discover a human torso.

The same day packages containing a foot and a hand were found in mail addressed to the federal Conservative and Liberal parties' offices in Ottawa. One of the parcels included a note that police have described as the "ramblings of a mad man."

Police have evidence that the remains are from the same victim but are awaiting confirmation.

On Thursday, Interpol, the world's largest international police organization, issued an alert asking police in its 190 member countries to be on the lookout for Magnotta in relation to the Montreal murder.

"We found some evidence on the scene," Lafrenière said. "We found, also, a letter that was posted on a website making us believe he might be gone out of the country."

As the search broadened, more details emerged about the troubled past of Magnotta, who was born in Scarborough, Ont. According to unnamed sources who spoke with NewsTalk 1010 radio, Magnotta - known as Eric Newman at the time - spent many of his early years being homeschooled, but attended Charlottetown Junior Public School in Grades 5 and 6.

He grew up in a home near Lawrence Avenue East and Centennial Road.

"He spoke with a very soft voice, he had his hair slicked back, he wore a lot of gold rings on his fingers and he was just different," a former classmate told the radio station. "Kids being kids, he was picked on a little bit and made fun of ... he just seemed unhappy ... just off."

In 2006 he had his name legally changed from Eric Newman to Luka Magnotta, government records show. His mother and sister now both live in Peterborough, Ont., but they declined comment Thursday when contacted by the National Post.

"Eric is my brother, but the entire family has agreed as one unit not to comment at this time," Melissa Newman said.

In a 2007 online article titled "Overcoming Mental Illness," someone calling himself Luka Magnotta and saying he was a professional model said he had spent time in a mental institution after being diagnosed as bi-polar.

"I first realized I was truly sick when I started hearing voices," he wrote. "I was in the park and I just heard screams and people talking in my ear." He claimed to be on medication and to have turned his life around after a time on the streets in Toronto. "I travel the world, ride around in limos, have only the most expensive clothing," he wrote. "I've come a long way from eating out of old pizza boxes on the streets."

If he ever was living the high life, it had come crashing down by the time he moved into a $490-a-month furnished one-room flat in Montreal's Snowdon district about four months ago. It was there that he is alleged to have killed and dismembered his victim, committing acts of cannibalism and necrophilia before disposing of the remains. A video of the acts was posted online, and since Wednesday Montreal police have been fighting an unsuccessful battle to have it removed.

Lafrenière said the video was taken down from one site Wednesday but "some very deranged people" have made copies and posted it elsewhere.

"That scares me a bit about human beings," he said. "I don't understand how people could be interested in watching that. This is so frickin' horrible. It's not an actor. It's someone getting killed and mutilated."

Magnotta had previously attracted international outrage as the suspect behind an online video showing kittens being stuffed into a plastic bag and suffocated with the aid of a vacuum cleaner.

An American lawyer said he alerted Toronto Police Sunday to the gruesome online video of an apparent murder, but his tip was dismissed. Online sleuths had already speculated that Mr. Magnotta, infamous for the kitten video, was the killer in the snuff film.

"I told them there was a video online of the murder, and the murder had likely taken place in Canada. And that the perpetrator was certainly a Canadian, certainly from Toronto," Roger Renville said. "His name was Luka Magnotta. And somebody needed to look at this."

The person taking the call told him what he had seen "was probably fake, probably special effects" and declined Renville's offer to email a link to the video.

Const. Wendy Drummond confirmed that Toronto police did receive a call from Mr. Renville and said he was advised to call the Crime Stoppers tip line.

An arrest warrant made public Thursday afternoon at the Montreal courthouse says Magnotta is wanted for second-degree murder in the May 25 death "of an unknown person." It also alleges Magnotta committed an indignity to human remains.

© Dave Sidaway / Postmedia NewsJanitor Mike Nadeau shows police the scene where a body was found in a suitcase at the back of 5309 Place Lucy in Montreal. Police identified the body as 33-year-old Concordia University student Lin Jun.
In 2004, Magnotta was charged with defrauding numerous large retail chains, including Sears Canada Inc., the Brick and 2001 Audio Video. He was also accused of stealing credit card information from an individual.

According to court records in Toronto, he pleaded guilty to all four charges in June 2005, and was given a nine-month conditional sentence and 12 months probation.

His bail conditions were included an order to stay away from the theft victim and a prohibition from owning or using any computers, accessing the Internet and email and possessing any cameras.

A story on a gay-and-lesbian news site reports an old girlfriend describing Magnotta as a narcissist desperate for attention. In that account on the Xtra! news site, she is also quoted saying he spoke constantly about serial killers and was obsessed with Karla Homolka.

"He always wanted to be famous," the story reported the girlfriend, quoted under a pseudonym, as saying.

"I guess now he is."
Magnotta linked to white supremest site

A year before he became the target of an international manhunt for an alleged killing and dismemberment, Luka Rocco Magnotta was being hailed as a hero of free speech on a U.S. white nationalist website.

A May 27, 2011 post on refers to Mr. Magnotta as "an open white supremacist" and claims he was being forced to flee Canada and return to Russia because of "his views on white supremacy."

The post, by a forum member named reddragon1, said Magnotta "is of Russian/Italian heritage," was born in Tolyatti, Russia, moved to Canada at age five and went to the United States to work in modeling and adult entertainment.

"However, after he published his website supporting the freeze on immigration to America and Canada, he was bombarded with hate mail and his website was removed," the post read. "His websites were frequently targeted and removed."

It quoted Mr. Magnotta's website as lamenting that "blacks get their own countries, Chinese get their own countries ... however if white people want their own countries then we are denied that right."

A photo of a shirtless Mr. Magnotta accompanied the post, which has now been taken down. A second and final post by reddragon1 the following day made derogatory comments about Jews. Stormfront is run by former Ku Klux Klan leader Don Black.

The blog Anti-Racist Canada, which found the Stormfront posts, reported Thursday that it would be sending them "to the appropriate authorities" and said it suspected reddragon1 to be Mr. Magnotta himself.

Mr. Magnotta appeared again on Stormfront in September, when a member wrote that "Luka Magnotta, he wrote a lot of very interesting articles on multiculturalism. I for one am extremely happy that he is courageous enough to write the things he does, knowing full well he will receive death threats. ... He says he is not advocating killing different races, he simply does not want to communicate, work or associate with different races."

Abbee Corb, an analyst with the Hate Crimes Extremism and Investigative Team, which advises police services in Ontario, said Stormfront "has become a social networking site and prominent voice in the right-wing white supremacist community.

"Prominent Canadian right winger Paul Fromm, hosts his radio show on the Stormfront network. Stormfront has a great deal of Canadian and international content. Its users can post and create content promoting events, recruiting and providing commentary on global events."

Stewart Bell
Postmedia News and Allison Cross and Graeme Hamilton, National Post. With files from Vidya Kauri, Armina Ligaya, and The Canadian Press