As Lauren Kornberg, a professional dog walker, hiked with her mom and nine of her clients along a Hollywood Hills trail on Tuesday, a Golden Retriever named Ollie started playing with a plastic grocery bag.
To the women’s horror, the bag contained a human head.
Kornberg told KPCC that Ollie was “going crazy. He was digging, digging, digging, barking. He had shredded the bag and had something in his mouth, which he dropped. And it rolled 30 feet down a hill and into a ravine.”
At first Kornberg thought it was a Hollywood prop, but closer inspection revealed it to be an actual human head.
“If it had not been for the dog walker, we might never have found it,” LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith told the Associated Press yesterday. The head had been there for only a few days at the most. Any longer, Smith said, and coyotes would probably have destroyed the evidence.
On Wednesday morning, a cadaver dog named Indiana Bones found one of the same victim’s hands about 50 feet from where the head was discovered. The other hand and feet were found soon after.
The body parts were found in Bronson Canyon Park, which is popular with dog walkers because of its long trails that wind below the Hollywood sign and Griffith Observatory. Authorities believe the victim, a 40 to 60-year-old man whose identity is now known but has not been released, was killed elsewhere and his remains dumped near one of the trails.
The killer is still at large, although local news stations reported last night that police had issued search warrants at a Hollywood apartment building and towed away a car.
Kornberg told KPCC she won’t be returning to Bronson Canyon anytime soon. “That’s actually kind of the thing that makes me the saddest,” she said. “Sometimes I have trails where I don’t see a single person and I’m blissed out, and it’s just going to be so hard to get that picture and that image out of my head.”
PHOTO: Stefan Bauer