Hills below Hollywood sign combed for more body parts

LOS ANGELES Thu Jan 19, 2012 3:17pm EST

1 of 3. Los Angeles police officers block the entrance to Bronson Canyon near the Hollywood sign where dog walkers discovered an unidentified man's head on Tuesday in Los Angeles, California January 18, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Alcorn

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Police combed the hills below the famed Hollywood sign for more human body parts on Thursday as the mystery surrounding the discovery of a severed human head, feet and hands there deepened.

Authorities believe the decapitated head and other body parts came from the same body. The parts were found separately this week in the same general area of the 4,200-acre Griffith Park, near hiking trails and not far from the Griffith Observatory.

Los Angeles County Coroner's officials have yet to identify the apparent murder victim, a man of undetermined ethnicity believed to be between the ages of 40 and 60. Police have been unable to say how he died or came to be dismembered.

More than 100 searchers including detectives, crime scene investigators and 40 cadets from police academy picked through the area on Thursday.

By mid-morning no more body parts had been found, Los Angeles Police Commander Andrew Smith said.

Smith said detectives were working other clues and hoped to get a break when coroner's investigators identified the victim, possibly as early as Thursday afternoon.

Two women walking dogs came across the head in a plastic bag on Tuesday and reported it to park rangers.

The hands were found on Wednesday, separately but in the same general area as the head, one by a cadaver-sniffing dog and the other several hours later by a crime scene investigator.

Later on Wednesday a coroner investigator discovered the feet, which were together and in the same vicinity.

The iconic Hollywood sign on Mount Lee above Los Angeles was built in the 1920s to promote a housing development and originally read "Hollywoodland." The last few letters deteriorated in the 1940s and the part that remained was restored in 1978.

Griffith Park, which sits in the hills above metropolitan Los Angeles, is the largest municipal park with an urban wilderness area in the United States, according to a city website.

(Editing by Daniel Trotta)

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