Mysterious feet may be linked to single accident: B.C. forensic expert

A forensic expert at Simon Fraser University said it's unlikely that five feet, which have washed up on B.C.'s south coast in the past year, belonged to people who each died in separate incidents.

A forensic expert at Simon Fraser University said it's unlikely that five feet, which have washed up on B.C.'s south coast in the past year, belonged to people who each died in separate incidents.

"It's strange that we had a glut of a whole bunch at once," said Gail Anderson, who studies the decomposition of human bodies.

"Maybe if a boat or a plane has gone down, something's disturbed it, a current or another boat hitting it or a dredger moved it so that the body parts are coming free and are being washed ashore."

The latest — a left foot — was found Monday, partially submerged in the water near Westham Island in Ladner. Delta police haven't said whether it belonged to a man or a woman.

A woman's right foot was found in May on the uninhabited Kirkland Island in the Fraser River — only a few kilometres away from the site of the latest gruesome discovery.

Before that, three other right feet — all from men — had been found. In August 2007, two were discovered on Gabriola and Jedediah islands and, in February 2008, another foot was found on Valdes Island.

All five feet were in socks and shoes.

Feet encased in a shoe can last for a long time in the ocean and tides may have carried them long distances, perhaps even from another country, Anderson explained.

"The oceans are all connected. It could be from miles away or a big boat that was en route somewhere."

Looking for clues

Const. Annie Linteau said RCMP investigators are looking for clues, but it's difficult to move the investigation forward until the remains are identified.

"We are reviewing all cases where boaters have gone missing or possible people that have jumped off bridges or people who may have gone missing in general," said Linteau.

Even though DNA profiles have been developed from three of the five feet, no matches have been found.

"It stretches one's imagination … I can tell you I've never run across something like this," B.C. Chief Coroner Terry Smith said.