Netflix's 'Don't F**k with Cats' tells Luka Magnotta's chilling tale, a narcissistic killer leaving clues across the Internet
Luka Magnotta's mother described him as a good-looking shy, young man who was relentlessly bullied at school and called gay. He left home at the age of 16 to make it as an actor and model in Toronto but did not succeed.
"In the Internet underbelly, there's an unwritten rule, Rule Zero: Don't F**k With Cats," says a Las Vegas data analyst, Deana Thompson, in Netflix's three-part crime documentary, which could possibly be too gruesome to watch. In 2010, Thompson came across a video on the net titled '1 Boy, 2 Cats,' expecting it to be another one of those destressing cute, cat videos she enjoys, she clicked on the link.
Little did Thompson know the video would change her life, launching a three-year incessant hunt that would only end with the arrest of a potential serial killer who shipped severed human body parts to offices of political parties and schools. The horrific cat video showed a man, with his face partially covered, caressing two kittens and then putting them in plastic bags and vacuuming the air out of them.
The clip sparked massive outrage, with some — including Thompson — determined to catch the person responsible. Thus, a Facebook group of internet sleuths was formed solely for the purpose of identifying and locating the person involved.
As the group scoured every angle of the video for a possible clue, the person posted another one — of drowning a live kitten in a bathtub. However, this time, another member of the group, John Green, noted something about the account that had posted the video.
The person had "liked" the movie 'Catch Me If You Can' from the account, suggesting he knew of the group and was baiting them. The group, after days of probing, analyzing the sockets, doorknob, and a vacuum cleaner in the video, zeroed in on the location of the person. He was somewhere in North America.
With no more leads to follow, the group had quietened for a few days and that is when another video was posted. This time, he was playing with the refrigerated dead kittens from the first video and even posted a picture of himself with his face blurred.
He had infiltrated the group, was following its investigation and wanted to be chased. Another animal cruelty video was posted shortly after from a Facebook account user named Jamsey Cramsalot Inhisass which showed a cat being burned alive in a cage.
The group recognized the telltale signs and grew suspicious that this could be their cat killer. Knowing about his penchant for attention, they directly asked him if he was the guy, and he said: "Yes," daring them to catch him.
The group checked his friends' location on Facebook and determined that he was from Namibia, South Africa. They identified a person named Edward to be the guy and bombarded him with abusive messages, a few months later he suicided. Edward was not the person they had been looking for.
Riddled with feelings of guilt, the group withdrew, nearly abandoning the hunt. However, one night they received a message saying the person they were looking for was Luka Magnotta.
The probe rekindled, and as the group did a Google search on his name, they found hundreds of results. There were multiple pictures of Magnotta online from all over the world with flattering messages written by others in the comments.
He was even linked to Madonna and Paris Hilton in some of the search results. They found out he was a model with an article from a Canadian website interviewing him over a possible affair with a high-profile convicted murderer Karla Homolka.
Baffled with the search results, the group eventually figured out that Magnotta had doctored most of the pictures, with his face superimposed on them. He had also created over 50 Facebook accounts to pose as his fan base. They had a lunatic on their hands.
The group contacted the reporter who had interviewed him, Joe Warmington, who confirmed talking to him after he made a bizarre claim during a radio show of being linked to Homolka. His location was finally confirmed: Magnotta was in Toronto, Canada.
Amid this quest to find him, Magnotta posted another video of feeding a cat to a python. The group was alarmed and alerted the Canadian authorities, fearing he might do something worse.
A reporter from The Sun, who was following this probe, approached Magnotta for an interview, asking if he was behind the gruesome videos. Although Magnotta vehemently refused, the reporter received a threatening mail, which read: "The next video will have humans and not just pussies."
The group's fears came true in May 2012 when they received a link to a video titled '1 Lunatic, 1 Icepick.' The group could not believe what they saw in the clip. Magnotta had filmed himself killing someone with an icepick, and decapitating the dead body as he played with it in the bathtub. The group urgently alerted the authorities again and received no response.
A day later, a torso was discovered in a bag in Montreal, Canada. The group immediately knew this was the victim they had witnessed being brutally murdered. The Canadian authorities subsequently launched a hunt for Magnotta after seeing the video.
His victim was identified as Lin Jun, a Chinese international student. The country was left rattled after elementary schools and federal political party offices found hands and feet of the victim in blood-soaked packages shipped to them.
Magnotta was obsessed with films and 'Basic Instinct' and 'American Psycho' were among his favorites. With authorities in a frenzied hunt, the internet group attempted to help. They reviewed the murder video again which had a 'Casablanca' poster in the background, and through the movie's iconic concluding dialogue "we'll always have Paris," they figured his next destination.
The Canadian authorities alerted their French counterparts, and an international manhunt was launched. Magnotta had achieved exactly what he wanted, he had become a famous killer with international governments hunting for him.
Although the French fugitive task force nearly nabbed him through CCTV cameras at the airport, he successfully evaded them. Meanwhile, Magnotta's mother, Anna Yourkin, could not believe what she was hearing of her son. She described him as a good-looking shy, young man who was relentlessly bullied at school and called gay.
He left home at the age of 16 to make it as an actor and model in Toronto but did not succeed. Magnotta resorted to enlisting in an escort service. Yourkin was convinced that her son was being forced to commit all these crimes by someone named Manny.
One of Magnotta's escort service clients who he said made him do horrible things. Magnotta, a year and a half before the murder, had contacted a lawyer in the U.S., seeking assistance.
He claimed he was being beaten and abused by Manny who forced him to have sex with animals. He also told the lawyer he was raped by Manny and several of his friends and provided photographic evidence of his bruised body.
Magnotta was finally nabbed in Berlin, Germany, in a near poetic justice scenario: At an internet cafe looking at his own mugshot on the Interpol website. With airliners unwilling to fly the infamous killer back, the Canadian government had to use its military aircraft to extradite him.
The group of internet sleuths was elated at the news of his arrest but there was one more puzzle to solve: Who was Manny? That is when they revisited Magnotta's other favorite movie and were left dumbfounded by what they found — the entire killing had been a homage to the movie 'Basic Instinct'.
The opening scene of Sharon Stone straddling a naked man and stabbing him with an ice-pick was exactly what Magnotta's video had depicted. Stone's character had an abusive boyfriend in the movie named Manny Vasquez. Magnotta had fabricated Manny as his defense even a year and a half before he committed the crime.
Magnotta was named Canadian Newsmaker of the Year by The Canadian Press. He is currently serving a life sentence in a prison in Quebec, Canada.