Miami Police said they are investigating a possible link between the Canadian man accused of dismembering a Chinese student and a similar slaying in Miami that remains unsolved.
Luka Rocco Magnotta, 29, was arrested in Berlin on Monday following an international manhunt, and is suspected of killing and dismembering student Jun Lin before sending some of his body parts to Canadian political parties and schools.
Laparra was a Guatemalan immigrant who worked in Little Havana as a carpenter. He lived in an apartment in Little Havana with his brother and sister, sending money back to his family in Guatemala.
Miami Sgt. Confesor Gonzalez, the lead investigator in the Laparra case confirmed with the Miami Herald that police are looking into a possible connection between the two homicides.
"Why not look into it? Any agency with a similar case, we would look into it,” Gonzalez told the Herald. “However, the preliminary look shows the M.O. is different. In the Canadian case, it appeared to be domestic and the killer knew the victim while in our case, it appears to be random. Nonetheless, in the interest of being thorough, we will follow up with Montreal police."
The newspaper said authorities were prompted to investigate after a journalist asked a local official about a possible connection.
Though it is not clear what connection Magnotta may have had to Laparra or if he was in Miami at the time of the killing, the Herald quoted the The Canadian Press saying online postings by an individual named Luka-Magnotta who claimed to live in Miami in August 2010 were found on a website for car enthusiasts.
Juan Membreno, a close friend of Laparra's, told NBC 6 in Spanish he'd like to ask Magnotta if he committed the crime.
"For me, sincerely, I would ask him if he did it or if he didn't do it," Membreno said in Spanish. He described Laparra as a family-man and said those who knew him were still pained by the lack of closure in the case.
"He was a spectacular person, humble, in the time that I knew him, he never got involved with anyone," Membreno said. "I don't wish that death on anyone."