11 Facts About The Horrific Murder Of Tim McLean Aboard A Greyhound Bus

On a summer afternoon in July 2008, Greyhound bus 1170 made its way from the Canadian province of Alberta towards Ontario. What was described as an uneventful trip turned into mass chaos when a man named Vincent Li began stabbing fellow passenger Tim McLean. As the remaining passengers fled the bus, they watched in horror as Li decapitated McLean and held up his head for everyone to see.

Despite the number of witnesses and the gruesome nature of the crime, Li did not go to prison but instead spent less than seven years in a mental hospital before becoming a free man. Although Li has expressed remorse for the murder, McLean's family and friends do not feel justice was served.

In this list, we'll learn about how Vince Li turned unexpectedly violent and how the life of a young expectant father was cut drastically short.

  • Tim McLean Was Traveling Home From A Work Trip The Day He Was Killed

    Tim McLean had recently taken up employment as a carnival barker when he boarded Greyhound Canada bus 1170 on July 30, 2008. The 22-year-old had been working at a fair in Edmonton, Alberta, and was heading back to his home in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

    McLean reportedly sat towards the back of the bus upon boarding and put in headphones before falling asleep with his head leaning against a window.

    Born on October 3, 1985, McLean was an active athlete and a beloved son, brother, and uncle with a large extended family. He was known as an adventurous person who loved traveling and meeting new people. Five months after his murder, his son was born on December 21, 2008.

  • Vince Li Boarded The Bus Later Than Evening In Manitoba

    Around 6 pm on July 30, 2008, 40-year-old Vince Li boarded bus 1170 at a stop in Erickson, Manitoba. Some other passengers later claimed Li seemed agitated and possibly confused as he climbed aboard, but he did not seem to be a threat.

    Li chose a seat near the front of the bus, spoke to no one, and eventually disembarked briefly at a rest stop to smoke a cigarette. When Li returned to the bus, he walked past his original seat and instead sat next to Tim McLean towards the rear.

  • Li Had Been Living With Schizophrenia At The Time Of The Murder

    Vince Li immigrated to Winnipeg, Ontario, Canada from China in 2001. Although he studied computer science in China, he was unable to find steady work in Canada, moving between jobs at Mcdonald's, Meatland Food, and Walmart, where he was eventually fired over a disagreement with a coworker.

    All the while, he reportedly harbored disturbing thoughts about aliens and how God had chosen him to vanquish them. Authorities later learned Li had schizophrenia. Without access to proper mental health treatment, Li began traveling around Canada trying to find the aliens he believed he was meant to destroy.

    When Li spotted McLean on the bus, he believed McLean was an alien he needed to kill in order to protect the other passengers. Li later stated he felt as though he “was like the second coming of Christ.”

  • Li Reportedly Displayed Strange Behavior Before Boarding Bus 1170

    Prior to boarding bus 1170 on the evening of July 30, Vince Li was seen sitting at the bus stop for hours before the bus was scheduled to arrive. According to reports, Li was emotionless, sitting upright with his eyes open throughout the night and into the next day. He also had a sign in front of his suitcase that read, “Laptop For Sale $600 O.B.O."

    The next morning, just hours before he would board the bus with Tim McLean, he sold his laptop to a 15-year-old boy for $60. Once Li's violent actions became public, however, the computer was quickly confiscated. When asked about Li, the teen who purchased the laptop said, "He had, like, no emotion to him, but he didn't seem like he was a very nasty guy. He just seemed calm and normal."

  • Li Reportedly Killed McLean Without Expressing Emotion

    Dozens of witnesses were present when Li changed his seat and positioned himself next to the sleeping McLean. Just moments after the bus began moving, Li reportedly pulled out a large hunting knife and began stabbing McLean in the neck and chest. McLean awoke and began screaming - a scream that haunted many of the other passengers years afterward.

    As Li attacked McLean, he was reportedly calm and methodical, never changing his expression or displaying emotion. Fellow passengers said they were shocked by his lack of rage and the almost robotic way in which he committed the act; according to one witness, he stabbed McLean nearly 60 times.

    As screams of horror filled the bus and the driver quickly pulled to the side of the road, Li began to cut off McLean's head and dismember his body.

  • Witnesses Attempted To Help McLean

    As soon as the bus driver became aware of the stabbing, he quickly pulled the bus off the road. Most passengers ran from the bus for safety, but one passenger, 26-year-old Garnet Caton, who had served five years in the Canadian Forces, tried to get others to help him overpower Li. When he was unsuccessful, Caton exited the bus, where he was met by a truck driver who had pulled over to offer assistance.

    Caton and the driver attempted to use a hammer and crowbar to injure Li, but Li tried to attack them with his knife. Eventually, the men managed to lock Li inside the bus so he couldn't escape.

    Li then cut off McLean's head and held it up to one of the bus windows in sight of the other passengers. Li then reportedly dropped McLean's head on the bus floor and proceeded to dismember the body.