SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco police arrested a man on suspicion of murder Saturday in connection with a suitcase found on a downtown street stuffed with dismembered human remains.
Mark Andrus, 59, had been spotted on surveillance footage near where the suitcase was discovered and was booked into county jail hours after he was detained as a “person of interest,” Officer Grace Gatpandan said.
Gatpandan said she could not comment on exactly how police linked Andrus to the body, but said they were aided by the surveillance footage and witness statements. She did not have any additional information about Andrus, the body parts found in the suitcase or a possible motive.
Andrus’ family told the San Francisco Chronicle he had run-ins with the law, kept to himself and drifted so far from them that they didn’t know where he was or how to reach him.
“We haven’t heard from him in, oh my gosh, years and years and years,” said Helen Andrus of Spokane, Wash., who is married to Mark Andrus’ older brother, Jon. “My husband at one point tried to reach out and find him, but I’m guessing it’s been 20 years now since we last saw him.”
The newspaper said Andrus had arrests in Missoula, Montana, in the 1980s and ’90s for suspected drug possession, theft, burglary and jumping bail.
Police received a call on Friday night on the department’s anonymous tip line that a “person of interest” in the suitcase incident had been spotted in the city’s Tenderloin neighborhood, Gatpandan said. They responded and detained two people, including Andrus.
Police had released photos of Andrus from the surveillance footage earlier in the day showing him in a striped baseball cap, light blue jeans and a blue and orange jacket.
The suitcase was found Wednesday afternoon outside a Goodwill thrift store in the city’s South of Market neighborhood. More body parts were found in a trash can nearby. The San Francisco medical examiner determined that the remains belong to an unidentified light-skinned man. Authorities will now turn to a DNA laboratory to identify him.
The condition of the man’s torso had police considering the possibility that organized crime or a gang was responsible for the remains, Officer Albie Esparza told the Chronicle before the announcement of Saturday’s arrest. He did not elaborate in the story.
Gatpandan said she did not know whether the second person who was detained remained in custody Saturday.
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