Some children's shoes found on a Victoria beach containing what police described as unidentified "bone and a 'meat-like' material" were likely a hoax, police now say.
Police say they don't yet know what sort of material was inside the shoes but they have determined it was not human remains. They are now launching a public mischief investigation, it was announced Friday afternoon.
"The hoax caused significant alarm to the community and tied up significant police resources for much of the evening, including the use of the BC Coroners Service and forensic anthropologists."
Police said they are processing the three shoes for evidence still and expect to be able to show them to the media next week in the hopes of generating tips or leads that might help identify who might be responsible.
The first of the three shoes was found on Thursday afternoon partially buried in the sand on a beach near Clover Point by a passerby. That person called police, who then cordoned off the area.
"A thorough search began at that time, resulting in two subsequent discoveries of shoes with possible bone inside, one of which is also children’s sized," said a statement issued by police on Thursday evening.
Real incidents and hoaxes
At least 11 shoes containing bones have been found on beaches in southern B.C. since 2007. Several of the remains have been identified through DNA analysis, and many of the findings have been related to suicides.
But there has been at least two previous hoaxes, including one very similar incident.
In September of last year two shoes stuffed with raw meat were found on beaches near Victoria. Police said that incident was likely a prank by local high school students who gather for an annual event on the weekend before school starts.