Another human foot has turned up in a British Columbia waterway, but the B.C. Coroners Service says there are some differences in this case.
The foot was found in a men’s hiking boot, not a running shoe. And it was found in fresh water – Sasamat Lake in Port Moody – rather than seawater.
“It’s a little bit different to our previous cases,” Steve Fonseca, manager of the identification and response unit of the service, told reporters during a briefing on Monday.
On Nov. 4, a youth at an outdoor centre noticed the boot floating a few metres offshore, but the youth and others examined the boot only after it had washed ashore on Nov. 5 and then called authorities.
It’s the ninth foot found in southwestern B.C. in the past four years. The corners service has identified six of the previous feet. There has been no evidence of foul play in any of those cases, as officials suggest the feet detached naturally from remains in the water.
The latest foot was subject to autopsy on Monday, and Mr. Fonseca said the results indicate it was not severed from the rest of the leg but detached naturally. A section of the foot will be subject to DNA analysis.
“There’s still a long process ahead,” Mr. Fonseca said, referring to efforts to identify the remains. “We are certainly looking at past missing-persons cases to see if we can find a relationship.”
He said the evidence suggests the foot was in the water for as long as a decade or longer, and he noted that investigators are looking at the production date of the shoe.
Mr. Fonseca displayed the men’s size 12, black, Cougar-brand hiking book for reporters, handling it with gloves after warning reporters of a possible odor. He expressed hope that media-distributed images might spur someone who could link the footwear to a missing person.
“Somebody will come forward, we hope, and let us know it could be a family member or friend who owned the shoe,” he said.
The Port Moody Police Department, the B.C. Police Missing Persons Unit, and the RCMP Behavioural Sciences Group are among the agencies working with the coroners service on the case.
Mr. Fonseca said this may not be the last foot to turn up along the B.C. coast.
“We could well see more come up,” he said. “We do have a lot of people who meet their demise in an aquatic environment, and there are people wearing shoes that are buoyant, and for those people who have died in those waterways, that’s probably the body part that is going to resurface.”