MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – A single mother of three whose body parts were found scattered in Toronto-area waterways had told neighbours she was planning to return to her native China.
Guang Hua Liu, 41, was reported missing on Aug. 11, one day after her friends dropped her off in front of a now-defunct spa she used to own called Forget Me Not Health Centre in east Toronto.
Jong Soon Suh, the owner of a dry cleaning business located in the same building for 18 years, said the former business owner at the spa’s location told her Liu was planning to leave Canada just months after opening the spa because her former husband had decided to relocate to China for work.
Suh also said that she had become aware of Liu taking over the property in mid-May and was concerned with the spa because she never saw any customers enter and the front window was covered with a curtain.
“The store never opened. There was no opening sign and nobody was in there,” she said.
“When I passed by, the curtain was a little bit different shape than the other day. So I (kept) an eye on it and the next day it was a little bit different also … So that means someone gets in and gets out.”
Suh said she had spoken with other business owners who also said they had never seen the spa open, while the previous owners had signs in front of their business to attract customers.
Toronto Coun. Michael Thompson said city inspectors checked out the spa after receiving a handful of resident complaints about the business.
When inspectors arrived at the business in mid-July the spa “didn’t appear to be operating,” he said. Zoning and bylaw officials found nothing improper, but noted they had trouble finding Liu at the spa.
“When our officers were able to speak to her she did inform them that she was in the process of selling her business,” he said.
Shan Shanmugavadivel, a dentist at Rainbow Village Dental Office in the same complex, said he would see the previous owner in the parking lot, but never saw Liu in the area.
“I saw a sign that said ‘new management’ but other than that I never met her and I never saw her,” he said.
Shanmugavadivel added that other business owners in the building told him they were concerned about why the spa was located in the residential area.
“I never protested or anything,” he said. “People have told me that they don’t want it here but I didn’t bother, it didn’t affect me and I thought that whoever is concerned, they could take the matter up.”
Shanmugavadivel said that he rarely saw customers or employees of the spa entering or exiting the building.
“I have seen some people hanging around outside, going in and coming out,” he said. “Not many, just on my way to work and on my way out I have seen some men going in and coming out but usually they had painted glass or something and I never cared to go in.”
But Imran Bachcha, a pharmacist who works next door to Liu’s former business said he often saw both men and women come and go at the spa, though he said it had been closed for the past three weeks. He said he believed it to be a legitimate business.
Last weekend, police officers contacted his pharmacy to see if they could obtain surveillance footage from cameras he had installed inside and outside the store. They never came back to get the tapes, said Bachcha.
Peel Insp. George Koekkoek said Liu had two younger children but they lived with their father.
Records show that Liu purchased a 2011 Toyota Yaris in September 2011 and was the sole buyer of the townhouse located on Huntingwood Drive in east-end Toronto in October of 2008.
On Aug. 15 Liu’s right foot was found in the Credit River in Mississauga, Ont., about 45 kilometres west of her home.
Liu’s head and hands were later discovered in the river in the Hewick Meadows Park area. And over the weekend, two calves, a thigh and an arm were found in West Highland Creek, just blocks from where she lived.
Forensic tests have determined all of those remains belonged to Liu, but police still do not know how she died. Investigators are not yet speaking about suspects, but they say they don’t believe at this point there are other victims.