The SF Medical Examiner has positively identified the headless torso found stuffed in a suitcase on January 28. It is, as was suspected and reported as early as nine days ago, 58-year-old Omar Shahwan, the friend and former roommate of deceased suspect Mark Andrus.
The medical examiner's office just released the news in the past few minutes, and we may have further details for you soon. But all they said was, "The San Francisco Medical Examiner would like to thank the Department of Justice, Bureau of Forensic Services DNA Laboratory for their assistance with this identification." And, "This case is actively being investigated with the cause and manner of death pending at this time."
So, yes, it still has not been ruled a homicide, we still don't know the cause of death, and it's unclear whether this development would have been reason enough to detain Andrus again even if he had not died on Saturday of drug-related sepsis.
But many in San Francisco, including at the SFPD, expressed frustration at having had to release Andrus last Tuesday for lack of evidence in this case. It seems clear enough now, given the circumstantial evidence and Andrus's connection to Shahwan, that even if he was not murdered Andrus was likely involved in the disposal of his corpse.
Andrus and Shahwan previously lived together, as reported last week by the Chronicle, at a Tenderloin SRO called Krupa Hotel, circa 2010, and according to court records tried suing their landlord over an eviction. Most recently the two were known to frequent a public housing complex at 420 Turk Street where they often bunked with a friend, Mark Keever, who has an apartment there. Keever, while maintaining that he did not believe Andrus was a killer, admitted that he had seen Andrus in possession of Shahwan's state-issued ID card after Shahwan had apparently gone missing, seven days prior to the suitcase discovery.
Shahwan lived in Vallejo, apparently with family, who were concerned that he had gone missing.
We'll update you as we learn more.