EDMONTON - Police are trying to determine whether a human head found in an Edmonton alley on Wednesday belongs to a body found in a rural area east of the city on the weekend.
A source said a woman discovered the head in a northeast neighbourhood in the early morning.
Jesse Whitnack, a 30-year-old computer tech who lives in an apartment at the end of the alley, was out for his second cigarette of the morning at about 7:30 a.m. when he noticed police.
It was still dark out. He asked an officer what was going on and was told he should watch the news.
"I said, 'Please don't tell me it is another body' and he said, 'It's parts,'" Whitnack recalled.
When the sun came up about an hour later, he went out on his balcony and zoomed in with his camera on what police were doing, Whitnack said.
He said the head was on the ground. He could see hair, but couldn't tell if it belonged to a man or a woman. Police took it away in a brown paper bag, he said.
RCMP are working with city police to determine whether the head is linked to remains found in a ditch near Ranfurly.
Mounties have said little about that case, other than that a body was found on Saturday evening. An autopsy was performed Monday.
Local news media have quoted area residents who said they had heard that the body had been decapitated and was found lying in a ditch next to a running pickup truck.
"We are aware of the file by the Edmonton Police Service and it's my understanding that efforts are underway between EPS and the medical examiner's office to identify them," said RCMP spokeswoman Doris Stapleton.
"Our investigations are always based on facts. At this time we don't have any facts that confirm that their file is in any way connected to our file."
Ranfurly is about 120 kilometres east of Edmonton on the Yellowhead Highway between Vegreville and Vermilion.