A man who was arrested over the weekend for allegedly leaving human body parts in a suitcase in downtown San Francisco is innocent, the man’s friend told the San Francisco Chronicle.

On Saturday, police arrested Mark Andrus, 59, on suspicion of murder in connection with pieces of a body found stuffed in a suitcase last week. The grisly discovery triggered a larger search by police, who found more remains around the neighborhood.

But Andrus’ friend Mark Keever told the Chronicle on Sunday that police have the wrong man.

“With all my heart and soul, it’s not him, and that’s the honest-to-God’s truth,” Keever told the Chronicle.

The pair have been sharing an apartment together for the last few years, Keever said. He accused police of targeting his friend because he looks like a homeless person.

Police working on the case last week were seeking a man seen on surveillance video. In images released Friday, the man was wearing a pinstriped baseball hat, a blue-and-orange jacket, and light blue jeans. Police described the man as white, in his 50s or 60s, about 5 foot 7, and possibly homeless.

The photos led to an anonymous tip Friday evening that the man was in the 400 block of Turk Street in the Tenderloin District. Early Saturday morning, Andrus was arrested.

The remains were discovered Wednesday afternoon on 11th Street between Market and Mission streets. Officers received a call about a suspicious package outside a Goodwill store and found body parts when they opened the suitcase.

Investigators said they later found additional remains in a nearby trash can. Initially, police said they were unsure whether the remains belonged to a human or an animal. The body parts belonged to an “unidentified light-skinned male,” according to the San Francisco medical examiner’s office.

The medical examiner is still working to identify the dead man and determine how he died. The state Bureau of Forensic Services' DNA laboratory will be needed to identify him, according to the medical examiner.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the San Francisco Police Department’s anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444.

For breaking California news, follow @JosephSerna.


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