San Francisco

Suspect in SF Body Parts Case Dead: Public Defender

Mark Andrus, the 59-year-old man arrested and later released on suspicion of murder in the grisly case of a dismembered body found in a suitcase in San Francisco, died Saturday, the San Francisco Public Defender's Office confirmed Sunday.

On Saturday, the San Francisco Police Department would not comment on the death, stating only that "Mr. Andrus is a free man," and is "not in police custody."

However, Adachi was aware of his death, which has yet to be explained, saying in a statement that in the short time he know Andrus, he found him to be a nice and "engaging" man.

The San Francisco District Attorney's Office said last week there was insufficient evidence to charge Andrus on suspicion of murder in the case.

Andrus was arrested on Jan. 30 and booked at the San Francisco County Jail. After his release from jail Tuesday, he was escorted by Jeff Adachi, his public defender. Adachi said that since Andrus did not have a place to live, his office would be helping him find a place to stay. "We will help place him in a hotel," Adachi said. "We will assist him with re-entry — he's been in jail three to four days."

Officers detained Andrus last month at the Sala Burton Manor apartment building, located at 430 Turk Street, less than a mile from where the suitcase with a headless human torso was found Police said they received a tip from an anonymous caller reporting that the person of interest in a photo SFPD released Friday was staying at the apartment building.

The suitcase was found on 11th Street near Market, just one block from Twitter's headquarters. Police then made another gruesome discovery shortly after when they uncovered more body parts within a three-block radius.

The San Francisco Chief Medical Examiner's office confirmed the human body parts were those of an unidentified light-skinned male. The medical examiner is still working to identify the victim.

Police and the District Attorney's Office said last week they would continue to investigate the case and work to find information that proves a link between Andrus and the body in the suitcase.

NBC Bay Area's Dave Elkinson, Jean Elle, Mark Matthews and Bay City News contributed to this report.

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