A dog's discovery near Brad Pitt's house triggers a major police investigation

By Dahvi Shira
Updated January 21, 2012 09:35 AM
Credit: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty

It all started with a woman’s routine walk with her mom and her dogs through parkland beneath the famed Hollywood sign.

Suddenly, one of Lauren Kornberg’s dogs found something in a bag. It looked like a movie prop to Kornberg at first, until she realized what it was.

“We were pretty much gasping, saying, ‘Oh, my god!’ ” Kornberg tells HLN. “I was shaking. It still doesn’t feel real.”

The bag, discovered on Jan. 17, contained the head of a middle-aged man. While the search for the killer continues, the coroner’s office has identified the victim as Hervey Medellin, 66, a retired employee of Mexicana Airlines who lived in a Hollywood apartment near the rugged, hillside area where his remains were found, reports the Los Angeles Times.

How and why he died remain unknown.

Near Brad Pitt’s Home

Medellin’s head was discovered near the city’s most exclusive neighborhoods not far from Brad Pitt‘s home. Detectives contacted Pitt’s bodyguard and neighbors, according to X17 Online. Pitt and Angelina Jolie take their children to play in that park frequently.

Close to 30 detectives and a cadaver dog were seen investigating in the rough terrain. The hand was located 50 yards from the head.

“It’s standard procedure for us to have our detectives canvass the neighborhood,” Los Angeles Police Cmdr. Andrew Smith tells CNN, adding that Pitt’s bodyguard saw nothing unusual.

Police say the victim was probably killed elsewhere and his remains dumped near the sign, but where that murder took place and by whom either isn’t known.

According to the Los Angeles Times, at least one person was questioned by detectives Thursday. Police also reportedly were looking to talk to at least one other man.

The area scoured for body parts, which authorities call their biggest search in recent memory, was reopened Friday.

“Right now there is somebody who committed murder somewhere out there,” says Smith, adding that authorities are “keeping an open mind on why this poor person was dismembered and deposited up there.”