Science of Forensics: Mystery of the Floating Feet
Wednesday July 6 at 10 pm ET/PT on CBC News Network
It's like a real life episode of "Crime Scene Investigation". In Canada, on May 22nd 2008, something unexpected was found washed ashore on an island off British Columbia - one right foot. The severed foot was still in its running shoe. This was the fourth severed foot to wash up on these shores in two months. Where did these floating feet come from and whom did they belong to?
Police and the coroner's office were initially unable to link the feet to missing persons, but speculation about who they belonged to ranged from victims of boating accidents to un-recovered bodies from a plane crash. And, the more grizzly theories: victims of a serial killer or criminal gangs.A coroner and RCMP officer examine a found shoe on the rocks
Among the clues they had to go on: four of the feet were right feet. The fourth foot was the only one belonging to a woman. DNA evidence revealed that two of the feet belonged to the same man. Police said there was no evidence to suggest the feet were intentionally severed, but that didn't rule out foul play.
Investigators turned to forensic experts like Dr. Gail Anderson. She is pioneering a new technology called VENUS that monitors decay under the sea.
Using two unsolved cases, Science of Forensics: The Mystery of the Floating Feet goes deep into the science and human ingenuity behind forensic investigation. One case of a mysterious body found in a field leads us through the specialized world of forensic anthropology. Here insects, paint chips, ballistics and DNA bring together the pieces of the puzzle needed to solve the mystery.A coroner examines one of the found shoes
The ocean is the newest frontier of forensic anthropology. As more severed feet wash up on the coast, scientists push on for answers. Dr. Anderson has been using VENUS to observe a corpse of a pig at the bottom of the wharf, while oceanographer Curtis Ebbesmeyer helps to solve the mystery by following the patterns of sneakers released into ocean currents.
Science of Forensics: Mystery of the Floating Feet tells the stories of mysterious deaths and reveals the "CSI" science behind how each case was solved.