Mexican novelist suspected of eating parts of girlfriend

AP , MEXICO CITY

Wed, Oct 17, 2007 - Page 7

Forensics experts said on Monday that flesh found on a plate, fork and frying pan in the apartment of an aspiring horror novelist was human and that DNA tests were planned to confirm whether it came from the body of his girlfriend.

Rodolfo Rojo, chief medical examiner for Mexico City's prosecutor's office, said muscle found on the plate and frying pan in suspect Jose Luis Calva's apartment corresponded to parts missing from the body of his 32-year-old girlfriend, Alejandra Galeana.

Police found Galeana's body in a closet in the suspect's apartment last week after her family lead police to the building.

Asked if Calva had eaten the woman, prosecutor Gustavo Romulo Salas said: "That is the assumption."

Authorities found pieces of lime beside chunks of flesh in the apartment, leading them to believe that Calva seasoned Galeana's flesh with the fruit, Rojo said.

Two or three days passed between Galeana's death and her grisly discovery -- too much time to test Calva's digestive system for traces of her flesh, Salas said.

Police discovered the lower part of a leg presumed to be Galeana's in the refrigerator of the apartment. They also found knives, a box cutter, blood stains and a pair of shoelaces that may have been used to strangle her, prosecutors said.

Their search uncovered an unfinished novel by Calva titled Cannibalistic Instincts. On the cover page, a masked image of Silence of the Lambs killer Hannibal Lecter had been altered to resemble Calva's face, Salas said.

One witness, whose name was withheld, told prosecutors that Calva was fascinated by animal porn, witchcraft, and the explicit novel 120 Days of Sodom by the Marquis de Sade.

Calva supported his cocaine and alcohol habits by forcing another girlfriend to sell handmade copies of his novels and poems for about US$1 a piece on city streets, prosecutors said.

The surviving girlfriend, whose name was also withheld for her protection, told police that Calva was initially charming, winning her trust with poetry. But he soon turned jealous, controlling and obsessive and once attempted suicide, the woman said.

Prosecutors said Calva may have killed two other women whose dismembered bodies were found crammed in cardboard boxes and suitcases in Mexico City in 2004 and this year.

Like Galeana, both were strangled.

One of those cadavers, found in April, was missing its hands and feet, prosecutors said.

The other body, found in 2004, was that of Calva's former girlfriend, Veronica Martinez.

Calva, arrested last week, remains under guard at a hospital where he is being treated for head injuries he suffered while trying to escape police by swinging down balconies from his upper-floor apartment.

Calva will likely be charged with homicide counts that carry a maximum sentence of 50 years in prison, Salas said.