The women made the discovery on a popular trail below the Hollywood sign (Reuters)
Police know the identity of the apparent murder victim whose dismembered body was found near the Hollywood sign. Reuters

Investigators have identified the body of a man who appears to have been murdered and dismembered, three days after body parts were first discovered in the Hollywood Hills.

The victim's severed head was discovered by a mother and daughter walking dogs on Tuesday in Bronson Canyon, near the iconic Hollywood sign landmark.

Los Angeles County Coroner Assistant Chief Ed Winter told CNN that authorities were not yet releasing the victim's name. The man is believed to be between the ages of 40-60, but little else is known about him.

We don't believe the murder occurred up here in the hills, Los Angeles Police Cmdr. Andrew Smith told reporters. Right now, there is somebody who committed murder somewhere out there.

Though the victim's hands and feet were recovered, authorities have not found his torso. They believe the body was likely deposited in one place, and that wild animals scattered the remains.

With the wildlife we have here with the coyotes and whatnot, if a body part is left up there, it's not long before it's disturbed by the animals, Smith said.

You could say it was a determined effort to hide [the body parts], Smith continued. There was no intent that these were something that the public would find.

According to CNN, investigators estimated the victim had died on Sunday.

Police confirmed that Brad Pitt's personal bodyguard had indeed been interviewed as a possible witness.

It's standard procedure for us to have our detectives canvass the neighborhood, Smith said. The bodyguard saw nothing unusual.

Pitt and his partner Angelina Jolie are believed to have frequented Bronson Canyon Park (where the grisly discovery was made) with their children. The couple was in Los Angeles this week to attend the Golden Globe Award ceremony on Sunday.

Hollywood area residents have been consumed with the mystery, which seems like it could have been taken from the script of the various crime investigation dramas that dominate network television.

Liam Lefevour, who regularly walks his dog near there area where the remains were found, told the Los Angeles Times the discovery was freaky.

It's a real-life 'Sopranos' situation, hiker Ann Marie Spinelli said.

Though the victim has been identified, authorities will continue to search for additional body parts and more clues.

We're going to leave no stone unturned, Smith said.