Severed hands found near decapitated head in Hollywood

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 18, 2012 8:13 PM
Severed hands found near decapitated head in Hollywood

By Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Detectives investigating a decapitated human head found by hikers in the hills below the famed Hollywood sign discovered a pair of severed hands nearby on Wednesday, a Los Angeles police spokesman said.

The two hands were uncovered about 50 yards apart during search of Griffith Park, where two female hikers came across the head in a plastic bag on Tuesday, Los Angeles Police Commander Andrew Smith said.

The first appendage was located on Wednesday morning by a cadaver dog and the second several hours later by a forensics investigator who "thought something looked suspicious to him" in the brush, Smith said.

"We did find another hand, it's the second hand. It's kind of grisly," Smith said after the second hand was discovered. "We definitely believe they are related."

The head and both hands were all found in the same general area about a half-mile below the Hollywood sign in a popular recreation and tourist area not far from Griffith Observatory.

All of the body parts were being turned over to the Los Angeles County Coroner for examination.

Coroner's spokesman Ed Winter said that investigators there would try to take fingerprints from the hands to identify the man.

Smith said detectives would continue searching for body parts or other clues through Thursday in the park in the heart of metropolitan Los Angeles that is home to a 53-mile network of trails, equestrian paths and fire roads.

"We are going to be extremely thorough and methodical in our search," Smith said.

Authorities believe the head had not been at the site for a long time, based in part on the fact that there were no animal bites on it.

Smith said the head appears to belong to a man between the ages of 40 and 60 who was "possibly Caucasian, possibly Armenian."

The Los Angeles area has one of the world's largest concentrations of people of Armenian descent.

The iconic Hollywood sign on Mount Lee above Los Angeles originally read "Hollywoodland" and was created to promote a housing development in 1923. The last few letters deteriorated in the late 1940s and the part that remained was restored in 1978.

(Additional reporting by Mary Slosson; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Dan Burns)