Cannibal Bus Ride 1170: The Murder of Tim McLean

A terrified group of passengers trapped on a Greyhound bus with a madman where they are forced to watch the horrific murder of Tim McClean, a scene that will haunt them for the rest of their lives.
Cannibal Bus Ride: The Murder of Tim McLean


In late July of 2008, 22 year old Tim McLean was a carnival worker ready to quit the road. He had been working in the scene for a couple of years enjoying the opportunity to travel and make new friends.

Cannibal Bus Ride: The Murder of Tim McLean

The young Canadian was ready for a more stable life that included marriage and a regular job. He planned to go home to Winnipeg which was a good 24-hour bus ride from the current station of the carnival.

The folks in the carnival had practically become his second family and wanted to help Mclean return home safely. For this reason, they offered to pitch in their money to pay for his plane ticket home, but McLean politely declined. He had no problem taking the Greyhound and bought his ticket excited to see his parents.


On July 29th, McLean boarded bus number 1170. He chose a seat close to the back and prepared himself for the long journey ahead. The bus traveled for 17 hours and it was time to make a stop for dinner.

Cannibal Bus Ride: The Murder of Tim McLean

As the passengers disembarked from the bus, some of them noticed a strange man sitting alone on one of the benches. McLean, always known to kind to others was the only person who offered him a greeting and a smile.

Cannibal Bus Ride: The Murder of Tim McLean

The stranger joined the passengers as they boarded the bus for the last leg of the ride. He specifically chose to sit down next to McClean, although there were plenty of other vacant seats. McLean didn’t seem bothered by this, putting on his headphones and eventually falling asleep.

Cannibal Bus Ride: The Murder of Tim McLean

The new passenger was a tall Asian man in his forties. He attracted some curious stares from the other passengers due to his odd behavior. Most noteworthy was that at 7 pm he was still wearing his sunglasses and his weird preoccupation with a toilet roll in his hands. Rocking back and forth he gripped on to it as if his life depended upon it.

Conversely, it wasn’t long into the evening before the man calmly reached into his backpack pulling out a large hunting knife. As the bus flew down the highway, he started to viciously stab McLean in the chest and neck.

Cannibal Bus Ride: The Murder of Tim McLean

McLean, of course, had woken up and was letting out a series of blood-curdling screams. One traveler said it was the most horrific sound they had ever heard in their lives. The man continued to stab him in a frenzy and the bus being on the highway had nowhere to pull over.

Cannibal Bus Ride: The Murder of Tim McLean

One of the male passengers had yelled at the attacker to stop. The man had turned around and briefly looked at him with curiosity. However, without a word, he returned to his bloody mission of knifing McLean.


The bus driver was able to find a safe place to stop. By this point McLean had already been stabbed 50 or 60 times. Nobody else made an effort to stop the attack and the passengers were in a mad rush to get off the bus.

Trapped directly behind the horror fest, was a young man with his wife and her mother. Terrified they squeezed past the man without harm. The bus was now empty leaving the poor young victim alone with his killer.

The stunned passengers stood outside the bus in shock not knowing what to do. Some were throwing up and crying, children were screaming and teenagers were trying to capture the video on their phones of a particularly disturbing sight. Despite the fact that they were off the bus, they still had a clear view of McLean being stabbed through the windows.

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The Rescue Attempt

A truck driver seeing all the commotion around the bus pulled over to see if he could help. He demanded that the bus driver open the door so that he could try and get McClean out. Not knowing what to expect, both drivers and a volunteer carefully boarded the bus to face the carnage.

They stepped onto a floor covered with blood. Meanwhile, the killer still wearing his sunglasses didn’t seem disturbed at all by their presence. He was now busy with a new project and had started sawing off McLean’s head. The men stared for a moment frozen in horror. Realizing McClean was beyond rescue they ran off the bus locking the door behind them.

Cannibal Bus Ride: The Murder of Tim McLean
Actual passenger and witness to McLean’s murder.

After the killer had finished removing McLean’s head, he paraded it down the aisle like a trophy. He took it to the front door and held it up, his face completely expressionless causing the passengers to scream.

He then returned to the rest of the body where he cut that up into bits and pieces. The traumatized onlookers were then forced to witness an even more gruesome act of depravity. The killer was eating the body parts of the now dismembered McClean.

Cannibal Bus Ride: The Murder of Tim McLean

The police had just arrived by this time but they were unable to yet safely remove the man from the bus. They weren’t prepared either to view the killer cannibalize McLean. It was reported that the man was consuming every part of his body including each of his eyeballs.

Cannibal Bus Ride: The Murder of Tim McLean

It took law enforcement over four hours before they were able to capture the killer. All of that time the man was still eating McLean in full view of people. The unfortunate passengers were barred from leaving the scene as they were witnesses to a crime.

Cannibal Bus Ride: The Murder of Tim McLean

During this time the cannibal had also tried to escape twice through broken windows before finally surrendering. He was identified as Vincent Li.

Cannibal Bus Ride: The Murder of Tim McLean

The Aftermath

The story instantly made national headlines. McLean’s family heard about it on the news and realized that their son was on that same bus ride. They were not aware that he was the victim, and had already been exposed to the grisly details of how he died.

The public began to question as to why none of the passengers had stepped in and helped McClean before it was too late. Furthermore, Mclean’s mother later expressed her anger in a television interview as she also felt her son could have been saved.

Cannibal Bus Ride: The Murder of Tim McLean

Vince Li was found to be a delusional paranoid schizophrenic claiming that God had told him to kill McLean. After Li, had done just that, God had instructed him to get rid of the body as quickly as possible. Li had eaten McLean in the attempt to hide the evidence in his stomach.

Li received barely a slap on the wrist for his violent assault. The court did not hold him responsible for his actions and released him back into society after a short stint at a mental hospital. Moreover, Li was given a fresh new identity and was relocated to another area in Canada to continue his life.

This action clearly upset many people as they felt the law was failing to keep them protected. They didn’t really care that Li had received” treatment”, they wanted the right to know if they were going to be in the presence of such a potentially dangerous man.

Cannibal Bus Ride: The Murder of Tim McLean
Vince Li in 2019

The post-traumatic stress that affected the passengers that rode on that fateful Greyhound bus 1170 permanently destroyed many of their lives.

Most of the passengers filed a lawsuit against Greyhound. However, the company did little more than reimbursing the passengers for the cost of the clothing they were wearing and offer a few hours of paid therapy.

Cannibal Bus Ride: The Murder of Tim McLean

To add further insult to the tragic loss of Tim McLean’s life, Bus 1170 is still in service. Greyhound had it cleaned it, changed the identifying number and assigned it to a different route.

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