ENCINO – A 35-year-old Tarzana man remained jailed Thursday in connection with the death of a woman whose dismembered remains were found in an Encino trash bin, and officials were investigating if he may have been involved with the disappearance of multiple relatives.
Samuel Haskell was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of murder at the Westfield Topanga mall by Los Angeles Police Department officers following a search of his home in the 4100 block of Coldstream Terrace. Police said the search was prompted by surveillance video evidence from Encino, where a homeless man searching for recyclables found a dismembered body in a plastic bag around 6:15 a.m. Wednesday near a trash bin at Ventura Boulevard and Rubio Way.
The woman whose dismembered remains were found has not yet been identified. Police said, however, that Haskell’s wife, 37-year-old Mei Le Haskell, and in-laws — Gaoshan Li, 72, and YanXiang Wang, 64 — are all missing and being sought by police.
All of them lived together with Haskell at the Coldstream Terrace address, along with Haskell’s three children, police said. The three children have been found safe and are being cared for by family members.
Police said two vehicles connected to Haskell are also missing and are being sought — a white Volkswagen Tiguan, license 9ANC890; and a white 2014 Nissan Pathfinder, license 7FRM190.
It was unclear how long the remains may have been in the Encino trash bin, or how long ago the victim may have died, although police suggested the killing may have occurred in the past few days.
Haskell was being held in lieu of $2 million bail, according to jail records.
Anyone with information on the case or on the location of Haskell’s family or the missing vehicles was urged to call the LAPD’s Robbery-Homicide Division at 213-486-6890. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 877-LAPD-24-7 (877-527-3247). Anyone wishing to remain anonymous can contact Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477) or go directly to lacrimestoppers.org.