A Victoria Police investigation into a human-remains hoax is growing after the discovery of two more child-sized shoes on the same beach where three shoes were found last week.
Police said they believe the placement of the five shoes at the popular Clover Point beach area is connected and they’re asking those responsible to come forward before they’re found and arrested.
Det. Const. Lori Beauvais, of the Victoria Police major crimes squad, was at Clover Point Thursday where she placed the five toddler-sized shoes on a table.
She said three shoes — one pair and a single — were found on Aug. 30 and two more children’s shoes were found on Aug. 31, a short distance from the original discovery.
Ms. Beauvais said three of those shoes were stuffed with meat and bones meant to look like human remains, similar to other runners found on B.C. beaches in the last five years with human feet inside.
She said tests revealed the meat inside the shoes was not human.
Further tests could reveal the meat in the shoes was some kind of poultry. Ms. Beauvais said the meat looked like chicken drumsticks.
An odour of rotting meat and seaweed wafted from the shoes police had on display.
“They (shoes) were purposely set to be found,” Ms. Beauvais said. “They looked authentic.”
She said police are canvassing Victoria-area stores in an attempt to link recent purchasing records of children’s shoes to the ones found last week.
The first shoe with meat inside was discovered by a tourist from Vancouver last week and after the beach was closed off as a crime scene two more shoes were discovered.
Ms. Beauvais said she has established a timeline where she is convinced the shoes were all placed at the beach within one hour of each other.
She said police have yet to receive any solid tips from the public.
“It does bother me,” Ms. Beauvais said, describing the prank as abhorrent. “The reality is this was done by somebody in our community.”
Since 2007, at least nine runners have been found with human remains inside along the shores of British Columbia, while there have also been at least two other hoaxes.
The BC Coroners Service has said the feet apparently separated naturally from bodies in the water, with no indication of foul play.
Two feet were identified as belonging to a woman who committed suicide by jumping from the Pattullo Bridge in New Westminster in 2004.
Earlier this year, the coroner’s service identified foot bones that had washed ashore inside a shoe on Sasamat Lake in Port Moody, B.C.
It said the bones were those of Stefan Zahorujko, a 65-year-old man who was fishing alone on the lake when he went missing in January 1987.