Severed head, hand discovery ‘a real-life Sopranos,’ hiker says
Wild animals may have carried off additional remains belonging to the man whose severed hand and head were discovered in the Hollywood Hills, but authorities said it is also possible those body parts were dumped separately to conceal the victim's identity.
Without dental records or fingerprints, police said it is much more difficult to identify victims.
Two people walking nine dogs first discovered the human head in a plastic bag about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday in Bronson Canyon Park near a trail below the Hollywood sign. Wednesday morning, authorities found a severed hand about 50 yards away from where the head was located. The hand was in brush off the trail –- and not contained in a bag.
The grisly discovery was prompting speculation from armchair detectives and others in the neighborhood, who were more bemused than scared by the apparent homicide.
"It's a real-life 'Sopranos' situation," said Ann Marie Spinelli as she hiked with her mother, sister and dog as police helicopters hovered in the distance.
The trio hypothesized that the killer was trying to make it impossible to identify the victim.
"We're assuming the body would be far away," Spinelli's sister, Karen Madigan, said. "There's no other reason to cut off the head."
Police have not ruled out finding more body parts. Detectives and officers trained in searching rough terrain continued to fan out across the area. The search was expected to continue Wednesday and into Thursday morning.
"We're hoping we can find more remains," LAPD Commander Andrew Smith said.
-- Alan Zarembo and Andrew Blankstein
Photo: LAPD officers guard the entrance to Bronson Canyon in Griffith Park, where detectives are investigating the discovery of a human head and severed hand. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times