Children's shoes containing what police describe as unidentified "bone and a 'meat-like' material" were found on a Victoria beach on Thursday afternoon.
A passerby found the first children's shoe, partially buried in the sand on a beach near Clover Point. The shoe was placed on a nearby rock before the person who found it 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.
A forensic pathologist will examine the contents to see if they are human or a hoax, but police say that could take several days or weeks to determine.
"They are going to look to see if the remains inside are in fact human or not. Once that is completed, we will have a better idea of where we are going to go with this investigation," said Const. Mike Russell.
"We don't know right now whether they have washed up or were in the water for a while, whether they were just placed there. That is something our forensic team is going to look at."
In the meantime, police say the beach will be closed while they examine the area for subsequent evidence.
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.
In 2008 a forensic pathologist determined the bones found inside one shoe near Campbell River on Vancouver Island were from some sort of animal.