Tarzana man arrested after human torso found in plastic bag in Encino, police say

Police said the day before, someone reported seeing a body inside a home in Tarzana.

Thursday, November 9, 2023
Tarzana man arrested after discovery of torso in bag in Encino
A Tarzana man has been arrested in connection with a woman's dismembered torso that was found near a dumpster in Encino.

ENCINO, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A Tarzana man has been arrested in connection with a woman's dismembered torso that was found near a dumpster in Encino.

LAPD officers took Samuel Haskell into custody Wednesday. He is being held on $2 million bail.

Police say Haskell's wife, Mei Haskell, and her parents are missing. Officers located the couple's three children in school on Wednesday and took them safely into custody of the county Department of Children and Family Services.

Mei Haskell's mother was identified as Yanxiang Wang and her father is Gaoshen Li.

Investigators have been searching for evidence at the Haskell's Tarzana home, where Mei's parents also lived.

Authorities are still working to identify the woman's torso that was found early Wednesday at a strip mall near Ventura Boulevard and Rubio Avenue. Police say a homeless person discovered the torso while digging for recyclables around 6:15 a.m.

Human remains found inside a plastic bag near a dumpster in Encino are that of a woman, officials said.

"A dismembered female wrapped in a plastic bag. It was just outside the dumpster," said Det. Efren Gutierrez with the Los Angeles Police Department.

Officers reviewed surveillance footage from the business plaza and say they developed evidence that led them to Haskell.

Investigators searched Haskell's home in Tarzana and discovered evidence of a crime that included blood.

Haskell was located at the Westfield Topanga mall in Canoga Park and arrested around 11:30 a.m.

Investigators said the victim's age has not been determined and there are no obvious signs of identification like tattoos. They also don't believe the body part was there for longer than a couple of days.

The night before the torso was discovered, someone reported to police seeing a body in a black bag near the home, but officers who responded at that time weren't able to substantiate the report, police say.

Residents who were in the area during the discovery were left shocked.

"I think it was kind of weird to drive up and be blocked off along the boulevard and into the little center over here and to find out that there were body parts there ... in Encino!" said one resident. "We've had a lot of crime in Encino over the last couple of months."

Anyone with information is urged to contact police.

Correction: An earlier version of this article said the discovery happened Wednesday afternoon. This has since been corrected.