Canadian floating feet mystery deepens
Police search the Vancouver inlet Tuesday where a severed foot was discovered.
September 1st, 2011
11:38 AM ET

Canadian floating feet mystery deepens

For the 11th time in the past four years, a human foot in a sport shoe was found on a Pacific Northwest shoreline.

Foot No. 11 was found Tuesday near a marina in an inlet called False Creek, police in Vancouver, British Columbia, said. Foul play was not suspected because there was no sign of trauma, coroner Stephen Fonseca said in a report from CNN affiliate CBC.

“These human remains did not show any evidence of trauma whatsoever,” CBC quoted Fonseca as saying.

DNA samples from foot No. 11 will be compared to DNA obtained from family members in missing persons cases to try to establish an identity, he said.

So who do the feet belong to and how did they meet their demise?

One foot, found in August 2007 on Jedediah Island, British Columbia, was identified as coming from a deceased man whose family did not want further details released, according to a report in the Vancouver Sun.

But the rest remain a mystery, according to a list in the Vancouver Sun.

Mark Mendelson, a Toronto forensics consultant and former police detective, said on the TV program "Canada AM" on Thursday that he's not buying that anything nefarious is, well, afoot.

"You have to think dirty," he said.

"I don't know if you can look at this as just a coincidence," he said, pointing out that he thinks there are too many questions that don't have logical answers.

"Why is it only happening on the west coast near Vancouver… why aren’t these feet floating up off Nova Scotia or St. John’s, Newfoundland, or off the coast of New Jersey," Mendelson asked.

And why only feet in running shoes?

Where are the rest of the body parts?

“Body parts do eventually make their way to the surface. So why are we only getting feet? Why are they in running shoes,” he asked.

Simon Fraser University forensics researcher Gail Anderson offers answers in a report on the website

“We have an awful lot of people missing in our waters, either from accidental cases or people who deliberately entered the water,” the website quotes Anderson as saying. “We’re talking four years and 11 feet. That’s really not that many at all.”

And if the shoe floats?

University of British Columbia materials engineering professor Anoush Poursartip tells vancouver.24hrs he has a theory on that.

“The polymers used in running shoes are chosen partially for their light weight. This means the shoe has significant buoyancy,” he told the website.

So the shoes are dragging the feet to the surface but leaving the rest of the body in the depths?

“I’m not sure I buy the theory it’s because the shoe floats,” Mendelson said in the "Canada AM" interview.

But one thing is certain, Mendelson said.

"Something is very, very strange here.”

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Filed under: Canada
soundoff (533 Responses)
  1. Manda says..

    "no sign of trauma".... not sure about you, but I find a disembodied foot pretty traumatic.

    September 2, 2011 at 1:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Martin

      This happens in Indian Provinces too. I think some indian is killing people in Canada.

      September 2, 2011 at 3:34 am | Report abuse |
    • kat

      no sign of trauma means they appear to have separated from the body naturally through the process of decomposition. There is no sign that they were forcibly removed from the rest of the body. (like no cut marks)

      September 2, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Keyokwee

    The fact that 11 people or bodies are missing their feet encased in a running shoe is pretty significant to me. I would consider it highly tramtic if I awoke and found my foot missing it with my shoe also. But I would check out the cadavers that are being used in the medical courses at any never know these days.

    September 2, 2011 at 6:41 am | Report abuse |
  3. Johnc

    >>"Why is it only happening on the west coast near Vancouver… why aren’t these feet floating up off Nova Scotia or St. John’s, Newfoundland, or off the coast of New Jersey," Mendelson asked.<<

    New Jersey probably has feet, too, but nobody asks questions.

    September 2, 2011 at 8:12 am | Report abuse |
    • mejazzbo

      The pollution off the coast of NJ could probably take a body down to the bone quicker than a school of piranha. Athletic shoes too.

      September 3, 2011 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
    • brillow

      it's because vancouver has an 11 foot tide.

      September 3, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  4. It's Dr. Do Little, folks

    "These human remains did not show any evidence of trauma whatsoever,” "Here we have a cut-off foot with no signs of trauma" says the all-knowing Doc. How does that work anyway? This coroner should stop sniffing the formaldehyde.

    September 2, 2011 at 8:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Davethecanuck

      This is why we leave the thinking to professionals... can you comprehend what "no signs of trauma means"?

      No, not what it means to you... what it actually means.
      No where was it said that the foot was cut off... meaning.... keep trying.... there is no physical evidence on the foot itself that suggests trauma... almost got it?.... the body decomposed and the foot detached, which wouldn't leave signs of trauma on the foot... which also doesn't tell you how the person died or whether foul play was involved.

      Congratulations to all of you who arrived at the conclusion foul play is involved...
      unfortunately when you are a professional and this is what you do for a living, you can't simply write in a report or state to the public "gut feelings" or things you can't prove.

      September 2, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  5. SamQuentin

    My best guess is they're the remains of "boat people": illegal immigrants from Asia who have met with foul play or whose vessels have sunk during their overseas voyages.

    September 2, 2011 at 8:29 am | Report abuse |
    • tensor

      Yes, good deduction, given the demo of the Vancouver area. Family doesn't want further details released? Reasons of privacy, perhaps, or a tie to Asian human trafficking, whether a consumer or a supplier, as you describe.

      September 2, 2011 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
  6. New Englander

    I am just curious. Aren,t there any missing people reports that they can maybe correlate these feet with? Just a thought.

    September 2, 2011 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
  7. Keds Nike

    It happens when runners in the farming communities near Vancouver do the Hokey Pokey around harvesting machinery.

    "You put your right foot in..." *CHOMP*

    End of story.

    September 2, 2011 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
  8. jeff

    Something is afoot here.....

    September 2, 2011 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
  9. jeff

    Ahh, the agony of de-feet......

    September 2, 2011 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
  10. Barry

    Satanic groups toed them somewhere, then took their very soles. Only they are capable of that kind of a feet. Agggggggh!

    September 2, 2011 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
  11. Dan

    Ooh get george lucas on the phone! "Indiana Jones and the Floating Feet."

    September 2, 2011 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  12. Kurt

    At least it's safe to go diving now – the water's up to 11 feet.

    September 2, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Oregon Phil

    We have had quite a few feet wash up in Oregon and Washington too. I find the Canadian story 15% less interesting.

    September 2, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  14. William

    Some medical students are probably having some fun with cadaver feet.

    September 3, 2011 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
  15. gandalf

    11' in four years ? the tectonic plates are speeding up ! better notify the USGS !

    September 6, 2011 at 6:37 am | Report abuse |
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