OTTAWA – A stunned Conservative receptionist opened a blood-soaked box Tuesday containing a human foot that had been delivered to the party’s headquarters a few scant blocks from Parliament Hill.
The macabre discovery led to a pre-noon call to police and paramedics about a suspicious package. The first officers to arrive on the scene spotted blood splattered on the package and immediately called in the hazardous-material unit. When the specialists opened the package, police found the severed appendage inside.
“Upon arrival, officers noted that the (box) package possibly had blood stains on it,” Ottawa police said in a statement.
“The Hazmat Unit and Emergency Operations Section were called and upon further inspection of the package it was determined that there was possibly a human foot in the box.”
Police said the package was addressed to the Conservative Party of Canada and not to a specific person.
The horror was not confined to Ottawa. Ottawa police were consulting with their counterparts in Montreal after they discovered a severed torso in a suitcase. Montreal police sifted through a heap of garbage in the city’s west end to see if they might turn up any missing limbs. Authorities in both cities are trying to determine if there might be a link to the foot mailed to Conservative party headquarters.
“We are taking the information from Ottawa also to make sure, if parts are missing here in Montreal, whose foot is missing in Ottawa?” said Const. Daniel Fortier.
“We are still looking in the garbage to find if there are other parts missing. We are still looking.”
“It doesn’t mean it is related. That’s why we must perform autopsies in Montreal and Ottawa.”
Ottawa police said it was too early to speculate on a link.
By late afternoon, a coroner confirmed the foot found in Ottawa was indeed human remains.
The package was taken from the scene in a yellow bag and escorted by police into a minivan waiting by the curb.
Steve Hodgson, a police sergeant who arrived at 130 Albert Street, just three blocks south of Parliament Hill, said the package was delivered by Canada Post and had been partially opened by a receptionist at the party’s 12th floor headquarters, who then called police.
“It wasn’t opened any further. It was our Hazmat Team that eventually took a look at it.”
A Conservative MP who showed up later at his party’s headquarters was horrified by the discovery.
“It’s just awful,” said Brad Trost, who first learned about the incident from TV. He said it was probably someone’s “sick idea.”
“I don’t think any of us are thinking this necessarily has anything to with politics,” he said.
Trost showed up for a meeting but was told by police it was best to leave.
A woman on the 14th floor of the building said police wearing special protective suits were seen in the building and that employees on her floor were told not to go to the 12th floor. Other workers were also told to stay in their offices.
Outside the party’s headquarters, the intercom rang for hours as police wouldn’t hang up the phone inside until they had finished assessing the scene.
A spokesman for the Conservative party would only say that a suspicious package was sent to their office before referring all questions to Ottawa police.
By late afternoon, three women emerged from the Conservative party offices, one carrying a child, and were guarded by police as they used a washroom.
About half a dozen staff remained in the office as police investigated. They left without speaking to reporters.