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. Evil Genius

    Canadian floating feet mystery deepens as more evidence surfaces.

    September 1, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • NO CLUE

      That is where my lost foot and shoe went!!

      September 1, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Shoe Fits

    There was one foot in a shoe found in Sweden.....

    September 1, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Shoe Fits

    And somehow looking for feet found floating in shoes... I find... that an18th Century Ship has been found at the 9/11 site the other day. WOW. National Geographic has the story. It wasn't floating.

    September 1, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. closetiguana

    I think it was done by the same people that planted bombs in the World Trade Towers. That's right, The Bush Administration is behind this. Case closed.

    September 1, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Miller

    I think I saw this on TV or at least something similar ( I don't remember where) but I think that there was a bridge upstream that people would jump off of and commit suicide. I think the reason that they gave as to why the feet were being disconnected was that the water would do something to the body causing the body parts to disconnect and since the feet had shoes on they would float. Not sure if this is the same thing just what I saw on TV.

    September 1, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sharon

      Ah, no. That has nothing to do with this. The feet are not found that near each other, and there's no bridge in Greater Vancouver specially used for those who want to commit suicide. We are a coastal area, after all, and sometimes it's drowning victims from many, many miles away that aren't found, or accident victims etc. It's definitely a mystery and there's been a large number of them over the years – I don't claim to know the answers, but what you saw and this are not related.

      September 1, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Just Me

    When they say no trauma what they mean is there are no saw, cutting, clean slices through the bone – in all these cases the bone and tissue have naturally decayed away from the body which brings up the obviuos freekin question – where are all the bodies? I don't even think this is a popular suicide choice is it? Why are feet not washing ashore all up and down the Washington and Oregon Coast – sounds like a Stephen King novel.

    September 1, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • ryan

      Yeah...I honestly think there are some mass murders that are going on or most likely have occured a few years back. I bet we will hear lots more on this and the story will thicken. There is nothing natural about this at all. MURDER

      September 1, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Doug Laipple

    My grandfather told me about sea monsters in the frigid waters north of Vancouver Island. He was prone to drink a bit too much rum, so we paid scant attention to his tales, but he said that they would come to the surface on starless nights and pluck unsuspecting lads from the decks of vessels, occasionally even picking off a few brave souls who would be walking the shores at night.
    They would drag their prey to the bottom of the ocean and slowly eat them, beginning with the head, which they seemed to enjoy just as do children who have opened up a new chocolate Easter Bunny. A similar trait seems to be the obsessive sequence in which people eat gingerbread men, but I digress.
    According to Pappy (we all called him that, but so did many others I knew who allegedly had no relativity to my grand father), they would always eat the entire victim, clothes and all, let loose a loud burp (some of which awoke seamen who thought a whale was breaching nearby but could never see a thing) and then crawled off to sleep.
    Legend has it that one day a rather pretty sea monster from the South, who caught many a young sea monster's eye, told them that a True Southern Lady NEVER eats EVERYTHING on her plate, ALWAYS leaving a bit of food behind to share with those less fortunate. This was a bit too much for many of them to abide, but a few of the young female sea monsters decided that they would take up this alleged tradition. They thus began to eat all but the feet of their victims leaving them to others. They decided that since some of the feet, apparently those with running shoes, would float to the surface whereas others, with loggers boots, etc, stayed on the bottom, the ones which floated away would be the ones they would share with others.
    Maybe Pappy was right. He said they had decided,

    "If the shoe floats, share it."

    September 1, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joy

      EXCELLENT STORY!! And the best explanation I've seen so far. Thanks for clearing up the mystery.

      September 1, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • ElizaCutter

      Maybe the feet were a tad too stinky for their digestive tracts...ooh–wah-hah-hah...Thank you for your family's take on this intriguing mystery....and the feet go on...

      September 1, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      That's a good one!

      September 1, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Matt

    I blame Dexter.

    September 1, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Drew

    How can you have a severed foot and say that there was no trauma? A foot absent from the rest of the body irrefutably indicates some sort of ankle-related trauma.

    September 1, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Just Me

      not necessarily – decay over time can have it 'naturally' detach from the body which is what they mean when they say no trauma (no saw, blade, or trauma to the bone etc)

      September 1, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wzrd1

      Decay and scavengers isn't considered trauma. As opposed to being cut deeply from, say, an airliner crashing and shredding passengers.

      September 1, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Exactly!! These must be the same cops that investigated the Jon Benet Ramsey murder!

      September 1, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  10. robert saint amour

    this, like most cnn articles is bs and not very well researched.....new zealand gets 35 feet a year washing up on shore... canada has the longest coastline on the planet, people fall in the water and disappear all the time..the only reason you're finding so many now is because all those designer shoes float..the reason you're not finding more is because most of our coast is not very accessible..this is no mystery, just physics and ocean currents..

    for the same reason you don't see them on the east coast, ocean currents run differently..

    September 1, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Flip-Flops from now on!

      Washington State should have a similiar problem then as it has very similiar inner harbour and water channels as the lower mainland of B.C.

      September 1, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  11. M

    Hey! Leave New Jersey outta this!

    We have enough problems here.

    September 1, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Wzrd1

    The rest of the body would literally come apart, both from decay and from scavengers eating the body. That would leave the feet, which are protected by the shoe.
    It could be remains being pulled along by prevailing currents from anything from a plane crash to suicides in one particular spot.
    Some information about the one who was identified would probably help determine the source of the remains.

    September 1, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  13. dj

    Hopefully investigators can get a "leg up" and figure this out

    September 1, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Max128

    Feets, do yo' stuff!

    September 1, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  15. BlameCanada

    Canadians' heads come apart when they talk. Maybe their feet come off when they walk.

    September 1, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
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