Image: A Los Angeles County Coroner vehicle and Los Angeles police officers are seen in Bronson Canyon
Pool  /  Reuters
A Los Angeles County Coroner vehicle and Los Angeles police officers are seen Wednesday in Bronson Canyon, a day after dogwalkers discovered an unidentified man's head in the Hollywood Hills near the Griffith Observatory, a popular hiking area. staff and news service reports
updated 1/18/2012 10:12:14 PM ET 2012-01-19T03:12:14

Investigators found two human hands and two feet Wednesday when they returned with search dogs to a popular hiking trail a day after two dogwalkers discovered a severed head in a bag at the location below the Hollywood sign.

About 12 detectives conducted a grid search of the area early Wednesday, NBC Los Angeles reported. They were looking in an area about 1/4-mile from the Bronson Canyon Park gates near the 3200 block of Canyon Drive.

See complete coverage by NBC Los Angeles.

Authorities discovered one hand Wednesday morning about 50 yards from the location of the head, which was found at about 3 p.m. Tuesday when dogs being walked by two women began playing with a bag not far off the trail.

The second hand and the feet were found in the afternoon.

Both hands and feet were found within a 50-yard radius of the head, NBC Los Angeles reported.

Police on Wednesday also described the original grisly discovery.

"At one point, one of the dogs ran into the brush and came out carrying a plastic grocery bag," said LAPD Commander Andrew Smith. "As the dog shook the plastic grocery bag, the severed human head fell out of the bag onto the ground."

TMZ reported that one of the dog walkers who found the head asked a passer-by if she could use his phone to call the police. After he obliged, the man took a photo of the head. The picture is now up for sale. According to TMZ, it depicts a male's bloody head, with very red and slightly decomposed skin.

The head, which appears to have been severed just below the chin, probably was placed near the trail just a few days ago after the individual was slain at a different location, according to investigators, NBC Los Angeles reported. It did not show signs of significant decomposition.

The victim is likely between 40 and 60 years old, but the coroner will need to conduct an investigation before more information about the individual can be provided.

The head was believed to be a man, possibly of Armenian descent, in his 40s with salt-and-pepper hair, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Investigators hope to come up with a sketch of the victim in order to identify who he is, officials said. Coroner's investigators also will attempt to identify the victim through dental records.

The grim discovery put many residents in the area on edge.

"I walked around the house locking all the doors," Susan Moss, a Canyon Drive Resident, told NBC Los Angeles. "I hope it's not something that actually occurred in our neighborhood where, as horrible as it sounds, it is a human, but I'm hoping it wasn't a murder that happened in our general vicinity. I'm hoping it's just someone trying to get rid of it."

The women who discovered the bag work as dog walkers and had about nine dogs with them at the time, Officer Karen Rayner said.

The investigation is being handled by LAPD’s Robbery-Homicide Division.

The stretch of road where the head was found is a hiking trail popular with local residents, especially dog walkers.

The trail also passes by the "Batcave," which was used in the original Batman and Robin series.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

Video: Severed head discovered in Hollywood Hills


Discussion comments


Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments