|Police takes down police tape in a alley near 132 ave and 72 st in Edmonton, Alberta on October 24, 2012. A human head was found in the alley and police forensic were on scene early this morning. (PERRY MAH/QMI AGENCY)
EDMONTON - A human head found in an Edmonton alley is that of a decapitated homicide victim found in a rural ditch days earlier.
The Edmonton Medical Examiner's Office says the man's head belongs to the homicide victim — a man in his 50s — discovered near Ranfurly, 120 km east of Edmonton, on Saturday.
City police sources say the homicide is likely gang related and was meant to send a message to a rival criminal. A man on parole lives close to where the head was found and it is believed he was intended to see the remains.
RCMP held a joint press conference with city police Friday, providing few details.
"I can tell you the victim was a male in his 50s and was from Alberta," said Insp. Jerry Scott.
"We will not be releasing any more information about his identity until we can determine that doing so will not impact the investigation.
RCMP are heading the investigation, with Edmonton city police assisting where necessary.
Edmonton city cops canvassed the neighbourhood where the head was found and have handed off files to the RCMP.
"That won't stop us from assisting with the investigation in the future. We have a common understanding and a good working relationship with the RCMP. There are many investigations that we work very closely with them," said city police Insp. Kevin Brezinski.
"This is a horrendous crime, and we're doing our best to prevent it from happening again."
On Wednesday morning, a woman found the human head in a cardboard box behind her northside home. She described the discovery as being "like a Halloween scene."
The previous night, Roseanne Rochette was driving in the alley around 11:30 p.m. and saw a lump that she thought was a piece of garbage. She got a rude awakening when investigators banged on her door at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday.
The headless body was discovered near Ranfurly on Saturday evening. Mounties, declaring the case a homicide, said it was found in a ditch near a running car two kilometres north of Hwy. 16.
"I don't know the reasons why the head was in Edmonton and the body was near Vermilion," he said.
"(But) I want to assure the public based on the information gathered to date, we do not believe this was a random act of violence."
Although police do not believe it to be a random attack, they will not say if they have any suspects in relation to the slaying.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact the RCMP or Crime Stoppers.