Inside The Horrific Murder Of Tim McLean Aboard A Greyhound Bus In 2008

Published June 22, 2023
Updated June 23, 2023

On July 30, 2008, Tim McLean was butchered and cannibalized by Vincent Li in an unprovoked attack that remains shocking to this day.

Tim Mclean

MyspaceThe brutal attack by Vincent Li on Tim McLean still haunts McLean’s family today.

In July 2008, two passengers fatefully boarded the same Greyhound bus in Canada. One was Timothy McLean, a 22-year old traveling home to Winnipeg. The other was Vince Li, a 40-year-old schizophrenic with severe delusions who soon had McLean in his crosshairs.

On the night of July 30, 2008, Li started to stab McLean — who was sleeping — in a completely unprovoked attack. Not only did Li stab McLean nearly 60 times, but he also dismembered and cannibalized him, as their horrified and helpless fellow passengers watched.

In all, it took five hours before the police could stop the enraged killer aboard Greyhound Canada Bus 1170. This is the story of Tim McLean’s gruesome death at the hands of Vincent Li.

A Routine Bus Ride Turns Into A Nightmare

On July 30, 2008, Tim McLean, a carnival worker, boarded Greyhound Canada Bus 1170 in Edmonton. The 22-year-old was traveling home to Winnipeg where his pregnant girlfriend was waiting, and chose to sit in the back of the bus and listen to music.

Greyhound Bus

Wikimedia CommonsA Greyhound Canada bus, similar to the one McLean was riding when he was killed.

At around 6:00, a passenger named Vincent Weiguang Li, known as Vince Li, boarded the bus in Erickson, Manitoba. Ranker reports that Li struck his fellow passegers as agitated and somewhat confused, but that he settled quietly into a seat near the front of the bus.

After a stop, however, Li moved to the back of the bus — and positioned himself next to McLean, who was asleep with his head against the window.

Then, shortly before 8:30 p.m., chaos erupted as Li unleashed a frenzied attack on McLean, repeatedly stabbing the younger man in the neck and chest with a large knife. The driver pulled the bus over and most passengers fled, but one — a young veteran — tried to intervene with the help of a truck driver who’d spotted the commotion.

Vincent Li With Handcuffs

YouTubeVincent Li stabbed Tim McLean in an unprovoked attack on July 30, 2008.

Despite their efforts to help, Li kept them back by slashing his knife through the air. They were forced to join the other passengers on the side of the road, though they locked the bus so that Li couldn’t escape.

Horrifically, Li then lifted McLean’s severed head up to the window for the other passengers to see. He continued to dismember McLean’s body and, in a truly sickening display, even consumed parts of his flesh.

A Grueling Five-Hour Standoff With Tim McLean’s Killer

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police were alerted to the stabbing at around 8:30 p.m. and soon arrived upon the scene near Portage la Prairie. There, they found that Vincent Li was still on the bus. Meanwhile, the other passengers were on the roadside, many of them crying and even vomiting in response to the traumatic events that had unfolded.

It took five grueling hours before the police were able to arrest Li. At around 1:30 p.m., Li attempted to escape by smashing a window, but was shot twice with a Taser and apprehended.

The Toronto Star reports that police were able to collect several parts of McLean’s body from the bus, but that his heart and eyes were never recovered. Police found McLean’s ear, nose, and tongue in Li’s pocket, but suspect that Li ate the missing body parts.

“[T]here is no other possible location for those items,” Crown prosecutor Joyce Dalmyn said.

Li Claims The Voice Of God Told Him To Kill

In the aftermath, Canadians everywhere demanded to know what had caused the attack. Vincent Li himself provided an answer in 2012, telling the BBC that he heard the “voice of God” speaking to him and that the voice sent him on a mission to protect people from an alien invasion.

“The voice told me that I was the third story of the Bible, that I was like the second coming of Jesus [and that] I was to save people from a space alien attack,” Li explained, adding that he was, “really sorry.”

In preparation for his perceived mission, Li followed the voice’s instructions to travel across the country, often on foot or by bus. He would disappear from his home for days at a time, a fact later confirmed by his wife, who told the Toronto Star that he would often disappear, ramble, and take unexplained bus trips. Li was convinced that he was in constant danger from alien infiltrators and began carrying a buck knife for protection.

This same knife was used to kill McLean.

On the Greyhound, the voice instructed him to murder the man sitting beside him, or else he would be killed himself. Li believed that McLean was actually a demon and an alien that needed to be “destroyed” and went as far as mutilating his body to prevent him from coming back to life.

The Aftermath Of A Senseless Tragedy

Vince Li

ViceVince Li was arrested for the Greyhound bus beheading of Tim McLean and found not criminally responsible.

In March 2009, Li was found not criminally responsible for the murder on account of mental illness and was committed to the Selkirk Mental Health Centre. But for Tim McLean’s family, it hardly felt like justice.

“[Li] still did it,” McLean’s mother, Carol DeDelley, said. “Whether he was in his right frame of mind or not, he still did the act. There was nobody else on that bus, holding a knife, slicing up my child.”

McLean’s father, Tim McLean Sr., dealt with his grief by getting a tattoo of his son’s face over his heart, but told the BBC that some days were still a struggle. “Although we’re trying to move forward, it’s still an ongoing challenge. I don’t believe we will ever fully recover,” he said.

To honor Tim McLean’s memory, a white cross bearing his name has been placed along the road in Portage la Prairie. Below his name, etched into the chipped white paint, is a heartfelt message from his father: “I think of you always son. Love Dad.”

The Controversial Release Of Tim McLean’s Killer

In February 2017, Vincent Li was granted an absolute discharge and has since been living alone in a community within Manitoba, Canada. The Criminal Code Review Board for the province has determined that he is no longer required to attend yearly reviews or be closely monitored.

Li eventually changed his name to Will Lee Baker and lives as a free man. The news of his release ignited controversy and outrage among those who were affected by the tragedy, including Tim McLean’s mother, DeDelley.

But DeDelley finds some solace in Tim McLean’s memory — and through his young son, who McLean never got to meet.

According to CBC, DeDelley says that her grandson, who was born five months after McLean died, inherited his father’s eyes and sense of humor. She considers him to be a blessing from her late son, who motivates her to wake up every day and take care of him to the best of her abilities. “He’s a gift from God, and I believe Tim sent him to me,” DeDelley shared.

After reading about the tragedy of Tim McLean, learn about other cannibal attacks that will send a shiver down your spine. Then, check out Ed Gein, the serial killer who used body parts to make furniture.

Rivy Lyon
True crime expert Rivy Lyon holds a Bachelor's degree in criminology, psychology, and sociology. A former private investigator, she has also worked with CrimeStoppers, the Innocence Project, and disaster response agencies across the U.S. She transitioned into investigative journalism in 2020, focusing primarily on unsolved homicides and missing persons.
Kaleena Fraga
A staff writer for All That's Interesting, Kaleena Fraga has also had her work featured in The Washington Post and Gastro Obscura, and she published a book on the Seattle food scene for the Eat Like A Local series. She graduated from Oberlin College, where she earned a dual degree in American History and French.
Cite This Article
Lyon, Rivy. "Inside The Horrific Murder Of Tim McLean Aboard A Greyhound Bus In 2008.", June 22, 2023, Accessed April 21, 2024.