Virginia Beach police are trying to determine the identity of a man whose body was dismembered and stuffed into three suitcases that were found in recent days, a department spokesman said yesterday.
Two of the suitcases were found floating near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, and a third was discovered after it washed up on a small island on the Eastern Shore, said Virginia Beach police spokesman Don Rimer.
The remains have been identified as those of a white man, Rimer said. He said police do not yet know how or when the man died. Rimer said the man's entire body has been recovered.
Investigators have searched national databases of missing people and asked for the public's help in identifying the man, but so far his name remains a mystery, Rimer said. He said the remains are being studied at the state medical examiner's office in Norfolk.
"We're depending on fingerprints, dental records and DNA," Rimer said. "That's all we can do."
A fisherman spotted the first suitcase bobbing near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel the morning of May 5 and alerted police after finding body parts inside, police said. Then, on May 11, a graduate student who was bird-watching around noon on Fishermans Island on the Eastern Shore found more human remains in a suitcase that had washed onto the shore.
Police said a boater found the third suitcase on Sunday. It also was floating near the bridge-tunnel.
Rimer would not provide further details on the type or color of the suitcases. He also declined to say whether detectives located any additional items in the luggage.
The U.S. Coast Guard has provided a map showing the currents in the area, Rimer said. If a medical examiner is able to determine approximately when the man died, Rimer said, the map might help detectives determine where the suitcases were placed in the water.
Police ask that anyone with information about the case call Virginia Beach Crime Solvers at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.