Head found in Hollywood park identified
Saturday 21 January 2012
Authorities have determined that a dismembered head and other body parts found in a rugged hillside park near the famed "Hollywood" sign are the remains of a man who lived in an a nearby apartment.
The victim was Hervey Medellin, a 66-year-old from Los Angeles, coroner's Lt. David Smith said last night.
Investigators, who are searching for suspects, served a search warrant on a Hollywood apartment in the area a day earlier, but it wasn't immediately clear if it was Medellin's apartment.
"They did serve a search warrant last night. They are following clues, and the case is progressing. Guys are working around the clock to find out who did it and find the rest of the body," police Cmdr. Andrew Smith said.
He did not elaborate on why the warrant was served or what, if anything, detectives found.
"We don't want to give out too much information because the investigation is ongoing," Andrew Smith said.
Medellin's head was found on Tuesday at Bronson Canyon Park, and police searchers discovered the hands and feet during a two-day search that ended on Thursday. The park, a brushy, wooded expanse of rolling hills just below the Hollywood sign, reopened yesterday.
Although police have concluded no other body parts were dumped in the park, visitors who find anything they believe is related to the victim's death should contact authorities, Smith said.
More than 120 police officers, firefighters and Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies searched 7 acres of the park after the head was discovered in a plastic grocery bag. The hands and feet were found nearby.
Police have said they believe the victim was killed elsewhere and his remains dumped just inside the park, which attracts hundreds of hikers and dog walkers on most days.
Although rustic, it is located just a short distance from film studios and other Hollywood attractions.
Police believe the body parts were left there no more than a day or two before the head was found because they had barely decomposed and had not been attacked by coyotes that roam through the park at night.
Authorities don't believe the Los Angeles case is connected to a case in Tucson, Arizona, where police found a torso on January 6. They say if the two were related, the remains would have been more badly decomposed.
Medellin's head was found after the dog walker let one of the animals she was shepherding through the park off its leash and it began playing with a plastic bag. When it shook the bag, the head fell out.
Andrew Smith said whoever dumped the head had gone to some effort to conceal it.
"If it had not been for the dog walker, we might never have found it," he said.
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