Foot found in B.C. lake identified after 25 years

The B.C. Coroner's Service has solved the 25-year-old disappearance of a Vancouver man and along with it, another floating-foot mystery.
The B.C. Coroners Service released this photo of a hiking boot that washed up on the shore of Sasamat Lake on Nov. 5. The boot is a black Cougar-brand men's size 12 with a blue felt lining. The metal eyelets are significantly rusted. (BC Coroners Service)

The B.C. Coroner's Service has solved the 25-year-old disappearance of a Vancouver man and along with it, another floating-foot mystery.

The coroner says foot bones that washed ashore in a boot found on Sasamat Lake in Port Moody, B.C., belonged to a man who vanished while fishing on the lake in January 1987.

Sixty-five-year-old Stefan Zahorujko was fishing alone when he disappeared, and his overturned boat was later found drifting in the lake.

"On Nov. 4, 2011, a hiking boot was noticed floating offshore by a youth attending a camp at the Sasamat Outdoor Centre," said a statement issued by the coroners office on Friday morning.

"The next morning the boot was found, washed up on the northwest shore of the lake. Once it was retrieved, a sock with the remains of a foot was found within it."

Authorities were immediately notified and the bones were eventually identified with the help of Coquitlam RCMP, the Port Moody Police Department and the B.C. Police Missing Person's Centre.

"An autopsy indicated the foot had not been mechanically removed, but rather separated through the natural processes that occur in water," said the statement.

Between August 2007 and November 2011, nine feet belonging to seven people have been discovered along the B.C. coast or in Sasamat Lake.

The coroner has since matched seven of those feet to five individuals. Foul play has not been suspected in any of the identified cases.