“I asked for an investigation, a personal investigation,” Chief Michel Moore said during Tuesday’s police commission meeting.
The body part was found on the morning of Wednesday, November 8.
Moore said two day laborers went to the LAPD’s Topanga station to report that Samuel Haskell IV, the 35-year-old son of a Hollywood executive, had hired them to dispose of plastic bags that he said contained stones.
However, when workers moved the bags, they said the bags appeared to contain human remains. Moore said the workers took the bags back to Haskell’s home, then tried to file a report at the Topanga station, but instead were told to get out and call 911.
“What concerns me is forcing them to go out and call 911 rather than having a black and white patrol unit that could go out and do an investigation,” Moore said.
Moore said the department’s response to that 911 call is also under internal investigation.
Two LAPD officers went to Haskell’s home and while they didn’t find the trash bags workers reported, they did find more, Moore said.
“Those bags were examined and did not contain any human remains, and there was a limit to what further actions officers could take at this early stage. We will investigate to determine that and verify that,” he said.
The officers eventually left the house, but the next day, detectives were able to link the torso found in an Encino mall dumpster to Haskell using surveillance video.
Meanwhile, Haskell’s wife, Mei Li Haskell, 37, and his parents, Gaoshan Li, 72, and Yanxiang Wang, 64, are still missing. Investigators are still awaiting confirmation from the coroner’s office, but believe Mei Li’s body may be found.
“The human torso in this bag is likely that of the suspect’s wife,” Moore said.
Haskell has since been charged with three counts of murder in the deaths of his wife and in-laws. He made his first court appearance Monday.
If convicted as charged, Haskell would face a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
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