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After suspect’s death, mystery of body parts found in suitcase still unsolved

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Police in San Francisco investigate the discovery of a dismembered body in a suitcase. (Credit: KGO via CNN)

(CNN) — After they found body parts inside a suitcase on a San Francisco sidewalk, police called him a suspect and accused him of murder.

Now, the man who had been a focal point of the investigation into the grisly find is dead.

Mark Andrus, 54, died Saturday after admitting himself to a hospital the same day, San Francisco Police said.

“The case is under investigation with the cause and manner of death pending,” the San Francisco Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said Monday.

Andrus was arrested last month but never charged. He was released from custody after prosecutors said they didn’t have enough evidence to prove a case against him.

“We are very disturbed by the facts of this case and are working with the San Francisco Police Department to secure the evidence necessary to prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law,” the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office said last week. “At this stage of the case, the medical examiner has yet to determine a cause of death or issue a positive identification of the victim. 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.”

The dismembered body was discovered on January 28 when police were called to the South of Market district in San Francisco. Other body parts were found in a trash can less than a block from the main crime scene.

“Andrus was our primary person of interest who was subsequently arrested and booked for the crime,” San Francisco Police Department spokeswoman Officer Grace Gatpandan said Monday. “I do not have information on other suspects at this time, however this is still an open and active investigation and any information given will (be) looked at by homicide investigators.”

Jeff Adachi, a public defender who represented Andrus, said he was sorry to learn of his death.

“During the short time I represented Mark, I found him to be a kind and engaging person,” Adachi said.

CNN’s Steve Almasy contributed to this report.

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