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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Filed under: Canada
soundoff (533 Responses)
  1. Walter

    They're the remains of the 2004 Tsunami victims being carried by deep ocean currents. Over 600k feet were swept into the ocean. Some wearing athletic shoes that wouldn't degrade and wouldn't float until the rest of the corpse rots away.

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

      And they are only showing up in one place. Right.

      September 1, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  2. PUFFDADDY

    It must be a marketing gimmick for the upcoming new season of DEXTER.

    September 1, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • razzi

      Too funny! My fist thought upon reading was that it must be a serial killer.

      September 1, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  3. dave richman

    The the authorities say the feet have no sign of trauma, really -– except maybe from being removed from the rest of the leg. Ya Think?

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

      You are talking about inferring trauma, not finding a sign of trauma on the appendage.

      September 1, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • lorne

      Dave, quick join the FBI immediately. You are a genius.

      September 1, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  4. wishing

    No foul play suspected. We keep hearing this. Howver, there are at least eleven feet, in running shoes, and it is happening no where else....... Have you ever heard the expression, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck...? If it looks like some bizarre serial killer, unexplained bodies keep showing up (at least the feet)... then, guess what?

    September 1, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vancouver Resident

      As someone who actually lives in the area, the rumour is, is that people are committing suicide off of one of the local bridges which is very high up off the water. They hit the water and the ankles snap instantly, the tissue breaks down and the foot floats up. There is a very high immigrant population in the area of this bridge and many of the immigrants do not like to talk about "weak" family members who kill themselves and so they do not report them missing, or as in the article, do not want names/info let out. Simplest answer = most likely scenario.

      September 1, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • wishing

      While it may be the simplest answer, and possibly correct, the longer you keep finding feet and no bodies, and you don't find jumpers' bodies with no feet, the simplest answer becomes much less likely.

      September 1, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nikki

      @ Vancouver Resident. I think your rumours are probably the real answer. Guy number one's foot was traced back to him. The family doesn't want anyone to know about what happened. I assume that mostly Asian families live in the area? They are all about honor, and can also be quite secretive. The economy has been pretty rough in the last four years. People committ suicide, no one talks of it, the bodies decompose and get eaten and parts float to the top. Especially if they have running shoes on that would float. The fact that they are all wearing running shoes isn't that big of a coincidence. Who doesn't wear runnign shoes? I don't run and I wear them. They are probably the most maketed shoe on the planet.

      September 1, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • lorne

      Vancouver resident- how do you explain that the feet have been found in many places up and down the coast, including Puget Sound near Seattle and not just near the bridge (Lions Gate Bridge I presume).

      September 1, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vancouver Resident

      @lorne The bridge is over teh Fraser River, one of the biggest rives in BC, massive flow of water that would carry it out to the open ocean/puget sound

      September 1, 2011 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shoe Fits

      The family members would not KNOW there missing loved one had committed suicide and they would likely report them as missing to the police and they would tell the police what kind of SHOES they had on. That could be easily matched up.

      Asian families are very tight knit and culturally look after one another. How man ASIAN homeless people do you see on the streets in Vancouver?

      This is likely homeless people being killed by a serial killer. Not how quickly they could identify the one man from the shoe and foot remains. No one is looking for these people and the police aren't catching on because only about 2 homless people a year a being killed and dumped in the ocean.

      September 1, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
  5. saopaco

    "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."

    Mr. Lendon, I am not certain that the discovery of human remains should be reported in such a glib fashion. Using the death of a human being as source material for a pun is asinine. Perhaps you should reconsider your profession.

    September 1, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sybaris

      The dead don't care

      September 1, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • MsTonja

      Each time I hear of another foot being found, I think of the movie, "Saw." I wonder what is happening to the rest of the body parts? Maybe the person is keeping the other part of the person alive in a dungeon someplace and has a thing for runners. Ya Think? Lots of runners come up missing all the time. Wonder if there is someone just making people put on sneakers before he/she does their handy work. So sad though that the perpetrator(s) are getting away with such crimes.

      September 1, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shoe Fits

      Mr. Lendon is quoting a forensic consultant in this article.... the man that made the offensive comment is a former Cop!!

      September 1, 2011 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Vancouver Resident

    As someone who actually lives in the area, the rumour is, is that people are committing suicide off of one of the local bridges which is very high up off the water. They hit the water and the ankles snap instantly, the tissue breaks down and the foot floats up. There is a very high immigrant population in the area of this bridge and many of the immigrants do not like to talk about "weak" family members who kill themselves and so they do not report them missing, or as in the article, do not want names/info let out. Simplest answer = most likely scenario.

    September 1, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt Parliament

      Vancouver is far from alone in having suicidal beings jumping from bridges, yet is alone in their foot-in-the-sneaker findings.
      Your rationale becomes far more complex when you now must justify why all other bridge bearing regions do not have the same issue (if any?).
      Ideas should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler. Me thinks you've oversimplified the issue into a 'immigrant suicide problem'.

      September 1, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • joe

      So if someone is shot and killed do you thinks that its oversimplified to say they were shot and killed?

      September 1, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Flip Flops People!

      And if a foot snapped off (compound fracture style) that is considered trauma and forensics would be able to see that so I'm not buying it.

      September 1, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  7. JOE

    Should've been Bachmann's head.

    September 1, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Doug Anderson

    I don't eat the feet – too bony. I don't eat the hands either but since hands don't have shoes the fishies must get them.

    September 1, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. JOE

    Make that Palin's. She has a bigger mouth.

    September 1, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Doug Anderson

    I guess that means something fishy is at hand.

    September 1, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Growski

    Gee, nobody ever thought maybe someone is cutting peoples feet off and throwing them in the river? No wonder they have not figured it out yet..

    September 1, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • VI resident

      When they experts say there is no evidence of trauma, they're saying the feet in fact weren't cut off. The foot, and in the latest case part of the leg bones, present no evidence of how the foot was detached.

      September 1, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Gurdip

    Walter, if your theory is true, then why are Asian tsunami victims ending up only in Canada and not any of the other coastal areas along the way?

    September 1, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Gaadffly

    If the shoe fits,,er floats, wear it !!

    September 1, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  14. stymie

    I think someone is putting people into cement, and dumping them in the Vancouver area. Somehow, their feet are dislodging from the bodies. Serial Killer.

    September 1, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      That's pretty silly. For that to happen they'd have to be buried head first in the concrete with only their feet sticking out. And the serial killer would have to be choosing only victims who wear jogging shoes. Compare the odds of that being the case versus the odds of you being a terrible detective.

      September 1, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  15. heston2012

    once agian

    September 1, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
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