Some crimes even stand out among other, similar crimes. It is not usually because of their depravity. It is rather obvious that few things are left to do to other human beings that have not been done before. What usually makes them stand out is some factor outside of the crime itself. In the case of the murder of Tim McLean, it was the brazen boldness of the act combined with its extreme violence that make it bizarre in the annals of crime. The perpetrator is certainly not the only man to commit a similar act in a similarly public way, but the cases are rather few.
Before we get into details, know that this is a horribly sad and gory tale. It happened on a moving Greyhound bus near Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. Mr. McLean was a 22-year-old carnival worker who was taking that bus home to Winnipeg at the end of a job. He sat very near the back of the bus, only one row up from the bathroom. He had boarded the bus at about 12:01 the afternoon of July 30, 2008.
About 7 hours after McLean got on the bus, it was boarded by another man, a stranger to the first. His name is Vince Weiguang Li. Li sat near the front of the bus initially. However, he eventually made his way toward the back, sparking the suspicion of no one with his calm and composed movements. He chose a seat next to the extraordinarily unfortunate Tim McLean, who proceeded to fall asleep with his headphones on. He awakened only briefly to a nightmare.
While McLean was asleep, Li took out a knife one witness would describe as a "Rambo knife." He then stabbed McLean in the neck and chest repeatedly. McLean woke and tried to fight off his attacker to no avail. By this point, other people on the bus were aware of what was happening. Either one had screamed or McLean had, alerting one witness to the event. The bus driver stopped and the terrified passengers disembarked. A few men and the bus driver tried to get back on to help McLean, but they were warded off by Li and his knife.
While the other passengers stood outside, some ill, some trying desperately to come up with a plan, Li removed his victim's head and displayed it, calmly they said, to the people outside. He then returned to the corpse and began cutting at it. Witnesses say he ate some of the pieces. Given that McLean's eyes and part of his heart were never recovered, the statement holds up. He also paced the bus, tried to drive it away and tried to leave it. He was unsuccessful thanks to the efforts of the driver, some of the passengers and a good Samaritan truck driver.
The police eventually arrived and relieved the traumatized bystanders. There was something of a stand off and then police managed to taze Li as he smashed a window and tried to the leave the bus. Contrarily, a police officer had heard him say, "I have to stay on the bus forever" a bit earlier. Once in custody, the police found McLean's nose, ears and tongue in the murderer's pockets. Li was found insane by the court and remains in a mental health facility where he continues to struggle with the idea that he cannibalized a man, according to staff.