Lack of evidence leads to release of suspect in SF body-parts case 

click to enlarge Mark Andrus, covered under sheet, was detained by police officers Friday in a case where body parts were found in a suitcase. Direct evidence linking Andrus to a crime is lacking. - COURTESY BRYAN CARMODY
  • courtesy Bryan Carmody
  • Mark Andrus, covered under sheet, was detained by police officers Friday in a case where body parts were found in a suitcase. Direct evidence linking Andrus to a crime is lacking.

Mark Andrus, the 59-year-old man arrested Saturday in connection with a dismembered body discovered last week in a suitcase on 11th Street, will not be charged in the case because there is not enough evidence at this time, the District Attorney's Office announced Tuesday.

"Until we have the evidence necessary to prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt, we are ethically obligated to hold off on charging this suspect," read a statement released by the office.

The announcement said that key pieces of information in the case remain unknown.

"Medical Examiner has yet to determine a cause of death or issue a positive identification of the victim," the statement read. "Additionally, there are other key facts that are still unknown. Given the current state of the evidence, there is insufficient evidence to charge this suspect with murder."

Police have also stated that the case remains under investigation despite the fact that they arrested Andrus for suspicion of murder.

"Homicide investigators are chasing down hundreds of leads into the identity of the victim," Sgt. Monica Macdonald said Tuesday. "They have received calls from all over the country from families concerned about their loved ones. They have not focused their attention on any one person."

Andrus was released Tuesday evening, according to KGO (Ch. 7).

Sheriff's Department officials said he was released after they received a discharge decision and completed other routine procedures.

The case was first reported after police received a 911 call Wednesday afternoon and responded to 11th Street between Market and Mission streets.

What they found was disturbing: a human torso stuffed in a black suitcase. After shutting down the street and searching further, more body parts were discovered nearby.

On Friday, the Medical Examiner's Office said the remains were that of one "light-skinned male."

That same day, police released surveillance pictures and a detailed description of a person of interest in the case who was seen in the area where the suitcase was found.

Later Friday, a call came into the Police Department's tip line with information stating that a man who fit the description of the person of interest was in the 400 block of Larkin Street in the Tenderloin. Police detained two people at that location, one being Andrus.

Then on Saturday, police announced that they had arrested Andrus on suspicion of murder.

About The Author

Jonah Owen Lamb

Jonah Owen Lamb

Bio:
Born and raised on a houseboat in Sausalito, Lamb has written for newspapers in New York City, Utah and the San Joaquin Valley. He was most recently an editor at the San Luis Obispo Tribune for nearly three years. He has written for The S.F. Examiner since 2013 and covers criminal justice and planning.
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