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Son of Hollywood exec accused of killing wife and her parents hired worker who found body parts in trash, prosecutors say


By Sarah Moon, Christina Maxouris and Steve Almasy, CNN

Los Angeles (CNN) — The son of a Hollywood agent is facing charges in the killings of his missing wife and her parents after body parts were allegedly found in his trash and a nearby dumpster, according to California prosecutors.

Samuel Haskell, 35, appeared Monday afternoon in a Los Angeles court where a judge denied him bail but granted his attorney’s request to postpone his arraignment. He was not asked to enter a plea to three counts of murder, each enhanced with special allegations of multiple murders.

He was arrested last week after part of a woman’s body was found in a dumpster. The discovery early Wednesday led investigators to the home he shared with his wife, their three children and his in-laws. Los Angeles police say they searched the home and found blood and other evidence – but they did not find his wife or her parents.

Prosecutors offered new details in the chilling case Monday, alleging Haskell killed 37-year-old Mei Li Haskell, and her parents, 71-year-old Gaoshan Li and 64-year-old Yanxiang Wang. Up until now, investigators had said the trio were missing.

CNN has reached out to Haskell’s attorney for comment. Haskell, who appeared in court in a blue jail uniform, will be formally charged at his arraignment December 8.

Here’s what we know.

Haskell allegedly hired workers to remove trash bags with body parts

In a Monday news release, prosecutors said a day laborer – who was one of four workers Haskell allegedly hired on Tuesday to remove some heavy black plastic trash bags from his home in Tarzana – found body parts in a bag the laborer opened. The worker called 911 and reported the discovery.

The same day someone allegedly observed and photographed Haskell putting a large trash bag into a dumpster not far from his home, according to the news release from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

The next day, a woman’s torso was found in that dumpster, according to prosecutors.

The disturbing find came just before sunrise Wednesday morning. A person looking through dumpster bins behind a busy road found a bag, and inside it, the body part, authorities said.

While identification of the dismembered body part is pending, one police official said it’s believed to be Mei Li Haskell – the suspect’s wife.

Police found blood inside the home

Investigators who responded to the call about the body part found in a dumpster found information that led them to the suspect’s house in the West Valley area, the Los Angeles Police Department said in a news release. It’s unclear what information was found that led to the suspect.

At the home, authorities found “blood evidence and other items,” LAPD Det. Efren Gutierrez said in a news conference last week, according to CNN affiliate KABC.

Haskell lived there with his wife and three children, as well as his in-laws. The children were found and are being cared for by family members, Los Angeles police said.

But Haskell’s wife and her parents were missing. Authorities started a search and noted their concern.

“The reason we’re concerned with their whereabouts is they would normally be home during these hours,” Gutierrez said last week during a news conference.

“Attempts have been made to contact them by cell phone … no answers. Same with Mei, she is unaccounted for … attempts have been made to call her phone (and) still no answer,” the detective said.

Police said the identification of the torso remains ongoing. But Los Angeles police Capt. Scot Williams said the torso is assumed to be the suspect’s wife, Mei Li Haskell, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Suspect is son of Emmy-winning producer

Haskell is the son of Emmy-winning producer and Hollywood agent Sam Haskell, who served as an agent for Kathie Lee Gifford, Whoopi Goldberg, Dolly Parton, George Clooney and others.

CNN has also reached out to the senior Haskell for comment.

Investigators are also looking for two missing vehicles, including a white Volkswagen Tiguan and a white 2014 Nissan Pathfinder, according to the LAPD news release.

Authorities did not share any details about who the vehicles belong to and how they may be connected in the case.

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CNN’s Sarah Moon reported from court and Christina Maxouris reported and wrote from Atlanta. CNN’s Chris Boyette contributed to this report.

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