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Body Parts Found In Northeast Minneapolis Prompt Homicide Investigation

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Police say a passerby found body parts in northeast Minneapolis Thursday morning, and additional parts were found once police began searching.

John Elder, the Minneapolis Police Department's director of police information, says the incident has prompted a homicide investigation.

"Parts of the anatomy that we located had they been removed from somebody, they would not have been able to survive," Elder said. "This isn't a normal case. This isn't something we see with any regularity, thank goodness."

Elder did not say which body parts were found, but said a 911 caller reported finding them on the 300 block of Main Street Northeast at about 9:30 a.m. The area was closed off as police investigated, and additional body parts were found near 3rd and University avenues.

"We are asking people to be vigilant of their surroundings," Elder said. "We have not recovered all of the parts necessary."

Body parts found in northeast Minneapolis
(credit: CBS)

Elder said the medical examiner and the Minneapolis Police Department's crime lab will work to identify the person to whom the body parts belonged. He mentioned investigators were reviewing missing persons reports, as well as video from the area.

"We will do everything we can to get this person identified and bring to justice whoever did this," Elder said.

The body parts are believed to be from a white man in his 30s, according to Elder.

"We don't know the origin of the body," he said. "We don't know the identity of the body."

Investigators say the death was likely recent based on the level of decomposition of the body parts found. It's also unclear if the victim was alive or deceased during the dismemberment.

"Somehow a cadaver may have been obtained and cut up or done whatever with. We're treating this as a homicide, that's our operating theory at this time," Elder said.

He said police do not believe there is "any sort of an outward threat towards the public."

"A crime like this certainly appears to be focused and not a random act," he said.

As the post-workday crowd started walking their dogs around the neighborhood, the Minnesota Search and Rescue Association was alongside them using cadaver dogs to help police find any more human remains along the caution tape surrounded stretch of 3rd Avenue.

"I was really surprised to see how big the crime scene was. It's huge," said neighbor Ellie Lehn.

Amy Apperson was walking her dog named Sam Thursday afternoon. She's confident he would have sniffed out the remains had she been in the area earlier.

"I'm just shocked. Who would have thought to put body parts there," Apperson said.

Body Parts Found In Northeast Minneapolis
(credit: CBS)

Austin Meimaridis lives about a block from where the first bag of remains was found, in the grass behind the Ukrainian American Community Center. He was one of the neighbors who notified police about the second bag found in a driveway next to his home.

"You don't think to point that stuff out until, you know, you get the news that there's a leg down the street I guess, right?" Meimaridis said.

Resident Marshall Howell says he could never imagine a crime like this occurring on his own block.

"All the neighbors around here would never expect something like this in the neighborhood, and so I think it's just more of not knowing how to react to it because it's just not something that we ever see over here," Howell said. "It's interesting to see what is the motivation, with everything going on. This is very different than the rest of the crime that's going on in the city. This is very unique."

This marks the 43rd homicide so far this year, only a few off from the pace of the infamous "Murderapolis" year of 1995 when there were 49 homicides in mid-June.

Police are asking anyone "who saw something that may have been suspicious" to contact Crime Stoppers of Minnesota. Should anyone find something they believe to be connected to this discovery, police have asked them to call 911.

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