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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soundoff (533 Responses)
  1. Baretta says...

    Very simply, it's obvious it's a sicko from a crematory, a mortician, or a coroner. Hello. No struggle b/c they are already dead.

    September 1, 2011 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
  2. ForReal

    "Foul play was not suspected because there was no sign of trauma, coroner Stephen Fonseca said in a report from CNN affiliate CBC."

    How can it be determined that there wasn't foul play when the body hasn't been found? Couldn't the body have about fifty bullets in it?

    September 1, 2011 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • YepForReal!

      Exactly what I was thinking. They've got a piece of the body not so likely to get shot or cut off in an attempt to kill someone. Duh.

      September 1, 2011 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anon

      FYI...the body releases chemicals when there is a trauma-related death. These chemicals permeate most muscle tissues. So they could know, if they actually knew human physiology.

      September 1, 2011 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • ray

      They didn't determine that there wasn't foul play, the simply couldn't determine that there WAS foul play, so they have no reason to suspect it. You don't just suspect foul play by default. You suspect only what is evident.

      September 2, 2011 at 1:49 am | Report abuse |
  3. Stroumboulopoulos

    Anyone know if they found a left-footed red speeder series Puma size 11.5? I lost a foot around there.

    September 1, 2011 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • ConnieM

      Wow that sounds traumatic so it's probably not your foot...sorry they're looking for non-traumatic scenarios here.

      September 1, 2011 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa


      September 1, 2011 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ConnieM

    I think that a foot detached from the rest of the body counts as trauma. Honestly! Blatant stupidity really turns my butter.

    September 1, 2011 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian Macker

      It's because a shark bit off the part that showed signs of trauma.

      September 1, 2011 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • ray

      I live near Vancouver and have been hearing about these feet since it started. Trauma is not necessary to detach a leg or foot. It happens after the person is dead and the flesh rots or is eaten away. Eventually the joints tear loose and the foot floats away. Since the foot is encased in a shoe, it take it longer to decompose and is more protected from animals so it remains somewhat intact.

      The people who study these things are professionals. For you to call it blatant stupidity is a little bit ignorant.

      September 2, 2011 at 1:46 am | Report abuse |
    • smartypants

      Speaking of blatant stupidity... I believe the expression is "churns my butter"

      September 2, 2011 at 2:28 am | Report abuse |
  5. Steve

    It could be like the island of floating plastic in the middle of the Pacific. Everything just gets sucked in.

    September 1, 2011 at 10:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. CharlieSeattle

    Bears do not eat feet.

    September 1, 2011 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Liz1388

    I don't get how a severed foot can be said to "show no evidence of trauma whatsoever"?

    Per Websters: "trauma: an injury (as a wound) to living tissue caused by an extrinsic agent"

    I searched to see if the medical profession had a different definition for "trauma" but found none. Perhaps Coroner Fonseca means "no evidence of violent removal, ripping or tearing"? Or maybe he thinks these feet are being cut off by the people to whom they were previously attached?

    September 1, 2011 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Liz1388

      Upon further thought, I realize that the key word in the def is "living". So the coroner means the leg was removed post-mortem. Should have waited a bit before commenting. LOL.

      I think @Baretta may be onto something with the "sicko from a crematory, a mortician, or a coroner" or assistant to same. Somebody with a foot/athletic shoe fetish and exhibitionist streak, maybe?

      September 1, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Glenn

    I've solved it!! Just below this heading on the CNN home page.."Man cuts off toes to stay alive" they must be connected – it's simply unlucky people that have to cut their foot off to survive!

    September 1, 2011 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. alma1313

    Some pyscho is trying to tell the police something, but they aren't having it! Hence 11 feet!

    September 1, 2011 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shoe Fits

      The frustration method.... how many will they kill before they just can't stand it and come in and tell us they did it... no way do they want to admit they might have to start looking at foul play... none of them were from ships, planes or known missing persons reports... that's all out of the way.... so why are they dead and why is no one lookiing for them?

      September 1, 2011 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
  10. KY Belly

    Sounds like a Monty Python police report.

    September 1, 2011 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Shoe Fits

    Okay I admit it.... my dog does steal shoes... but never never has he chewed off the leg to get the foot and shoe.

    September 1, 2011 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
  12. BallsGoodman

    You silly Texas Governor voting American fools. You wait till the shoe's on the other foot.

    September 2, 2011 at 12:09 am | Report abuse |
  13. CrystalRiver

    Canada should monitor all its 30 million people. Too many weird people in rich countries.

    September 2, 2011 at 12:29 am | Report abuse |
  14. Cloverdale

    What isn't mentioned is that the Vancouver area is at the delta of the Fraser River, and any bodies that end up in the river will eventually end up on the coast around the Vancouver or Gulf Islands region. Plus there are numerous bridges over the river, with their share of jumpers each year, which is a likely source of this mystery.

    September 2, 2011 at 12:59 am | Report abuse |
  15. Michigan_Joe

    Any matched pair of feet show up yet? I wonder if they are all left feet or right feet. Suppose that an insane person has a fetish for just left feet pr right feet in running shoes. Where is the rest of the body? Could it be a cannibal that doesn't like feet?

    September 2, 2011 at 1:21 am | Report abuse |
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