Blue Line


January 29, 2013  By Diane Trepkov

Luka’s empty eyes

by Diana Trepkov

The newspaper called my cell phone a little over an hour before its deadline. They wanted a forensic art disguise drawing of a man on the run from police for the morning edition – drawn as a female.

The drawing was important, I was told, as it could lead to the capture of Luka Rocco Magnotta, Canada’s most wanted fugitive at the time. Magnotta has the kind of face that allows him to pull off many different looks. Like a chameleon, he can fit into any style or environment he chooses.

I had one hour to draw Magnotta and wasn’t sure that was enough time to do a thorough job. I like to have at least four hours to complete a drawing properly. I raced home and said a quick prayer, as I often do when faced with such a situation. “Please God, help me get this drawing right and master his eyes.”

The eyes are the mirror of the soul and tell all about a person. “Diana you are very good with eyes,” a retired NYPD detective once told me. “You can read people and look deep within their souls by staring into their eyes.”
One case I worked on was solved after nine years because the stepfather recognized his missing son’s eyes, which he called “haunting.” I completed the postmortem reconstruction from an autopsy photograph given to me by the medical examiner’s office. The DNA proved a positive match.

I studied Magnotta’s photographs, staring into his eyes and seeing the coldness, emptiness and lack of emotion. They showed conceit, deceitfulness and sneakiness. The world already knew the horrible things he had done to another human and baby animals, as he posted the videos on the Internet.

Under pressure and a little nervous, I began as always with the eyes. Once I had drawn them properly, I drew his nose turned up, then his full, soft textured lips. His jaw is very pronounced so I made sure I to do his jaw line and bone structure in the same manner. It’s crucial to get the facial proportions correct on forensic art drawings. The only thing that made Magnotta look different was the makeup and hairstyle.

Magnotta’s hair was the fastest I have ever drawn. I just scratched and scribbled long dark hair, with full bangs framing his eyes and then long and wispy layers. Since he was on the run I reasoned he would likely be wearing a wig.

The long dark hair made him look much younger. Dark hair takes years off a person’s age and light hair adds to it. It also made his features stand out, especially his eyes.

My drawing made the front page of the June 1, 2012 edition of a Toronto newspaper and went all over Europe and the Internet. I knew that as long as people were familiar with Magnotta’s facial features, they would soon spot him.

Magnotta was seen and arrested in a Berlin Internet cafe, looking at articles and photographs of himself, on June 4.


Diana Trepkov is an IAI certified forensic artist. Contact her at, visit or call 647 522-9660 for more information. You can also speak to her at the Blue Line Expo on April 23 and 24.

Print this page


Stories continue below