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 vancouver.24hrs.ca.

“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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soundoff (533 Responses)
  1. Jim Niederriter

    In fact, I had another mispelling appear after I posted and edited my last comment. It now says "show" instead of shoe. It actually did say shoe when I types it.

    September 1, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Butch

    Has anyone looked at the possibility these body parts came from passing merchant ships or even from the orient?

    September 1, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Sunflower

    Sounds like a serial killer with a peculiar "signature" to me..... Just too many coincidences for it to be random. I wish they would have stated how many of the 11 were male and how many were female.... I would think that might be significant. All left or all right or a mix? That would further indicate a serial killer with a signature. This is most peculiar. And out of 11 only 1 was identified by DNA??? That is also strange.

    September 1, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Leafonthewind

      I agree with you except for the DNA part. My DNA isn't on file anywhere, so unless they found the rest of me, to what would they match it? Also, give them time. They may have to cross-match with DNA samples from family members of missing persons, and that would take a lot of time.

      September 1, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shoe Fits

      Leatheronwood... hopefully you will have remaining family members and they might have some of your hair in a brush. What is sad is that they are not being identified... no one is looking for these people?

      September 1, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Catalina

    It seems to me that the most tenuous connections on the human body are the wrists, ankles and neck. I expect that if a body was providing a meal for ocean creatures, or simply decomposing in the water, the first parts of that body to detach would be either the head, hands or feet. Typically neither the head nor the hands are encased in floatable protection, such as gloves or helmet while out on boats or just climbing over slippery rocks; the feet however are almost always encased in some kind of shoe, nowadays, typically runners, which float. Therefore it is more likely that feet wearing runners will float to the surface and be discovered. Ask yourselves if any feet have been found in brogues. No! Why? Because leather is not as bouyant as synthetics.

    September 1, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Leafonthewind

      You're applying logic, when CNN just wants a sensational headline with an incomplete story in order to get lots of people to click on it, which satisfies their advertisers.

      September 1, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Snacklefish

    I believe that the authorities are just dragging their feet on investigating this, and hoping that the other shoe will fall soon. We need to know who's running this show.

    September 1, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kat

      LOL! That made me snort out loud. :-)

      September 1, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Smartypants

      Well, hopefully with all the extra feet on the ground they can get a leg up on this!

      September 1, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Gomez

    No sign of trauma?!?! The mere fact that these feet aren't attached to the rest of the body shows that there is trauma.

    September 1, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Forensics

      Sorry Shirlock, all it shows is that a foot naturally decayed away from the body, as opposed to being hacked, split, blown up, eaten by wolves (aka "Trauma")

      September 1, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Nichole

    My feet are feeling trauma, these boots are killing me.

    September 1, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Leafonthewind

      Let me guess: pointed toes and high heels? Makes my dogs bark just thinking about it.

      September 1, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Random Ntrygg

    as the bodies decompose, are eaten by sea life – the shoe protects the foot and it just detaches from the rest of the body – there would be no trauma on the foot if the person died from drowning, or even being shot or stabbed – we aren't getting body parts where trauma occured – thus, no sign of trauma on the part that we are finding.

    http://ntrygg.wordpress.com

    September 1, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sunflower

      Thus, no evidence of them being hacked or sawed off......

      September 1, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Charlton Heston

    Feet are not conducive to the manufacture of processed meals.

    September 1, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Leafonthewind

      "Soylent Green is people!"

      September 1, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. El Man

    British Columbia... always bringing weird stuff to the news... gotta love BC.

    September 1, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • lorne

      Oh so Warren Jeffs from Utah isn't weird, or Casey Anthony in Florida, or any number of terrible happenings in the states isn't weird – just in B.C.
      Another stupid post from an idiot.

      September 1, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Forensics

      I'm from BC and found your comment funny. It is a little off the wall, or a little Stephen King'ish – can't decide yet.

      September 1, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Capercorn

    Bigfoot seems to have a new found obsession with Air Jordans. Too bad most models are too small, and Anti-Bigfoot legislation keeps him from legally buying these shoes.

    Although, if I'm not mistaken, there is at least one US state that has a law on the books making it illegal to kill a bigfoot.

    September 1, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Fred

    OK they know the FOOT didn't suffer trauma, but how do they know the rest of the body didn"t?
    Something fishy afoot.

    September 1, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. yada

    Two things to remember: 11 feet in running shoes and all showing up in the same place. Something's amiss. Might want to surveil the nearest jogging path. And how many people do you know spend time on a beach in a tropical area (where the Tsanami hit) in their sneakers? Or any beach for that matter.

    September 1, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Baldguy

      Mendelson "says something is very, very strange here." Most Canadians think that about the Vancouver area!

      September 1, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Leafonthewind

      Jogging path? I would check the ocean's currents. These feet could have come from a long way off.

      September 1, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Dave

    I'm surprised that no one has considered that someone with access to body parts (morgue. mortuary, etc) is planting these feet as a sort of morbid prank. People have in the past gone to great lengths to create a sensational mystery .. think Bigfoot, crop circles, etc.

    September 1, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jackie

      You're right, of course. It's a creepy prank, if that's what it is, but far less sinister than a serial killer with an athlete-shoe foot fetish.

      September 1, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  15. NetNinja

    Ocean traffic, Water currents, sea water saturation, Blood types, Feet size, sneaker age. There is a lot of things that can be compared between the other feet that have been found. There has to be a pattern.

    September 1, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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