Shoe with foot inside found at Botanical Beach
Investigators trying to ID remains, looking at missing persons from 2013
A B.C. family visiting the west coast of Vancouver Island over the weekend found a shoe with a dismembered foot inside — the latest in a series of similar discoveries throughout the region since 2007.
Charlotte Stephens says her family was walking along Botanical Beach when her husband made the grisly discovery.
"He picked it up and brought it out on to the beach, and we had a look at it for about five minutes and we thought, it almost looks like there is an actual foot bone in it," she said.
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Stephens said they reported the finding to Sooke RCMP.
The BC Coroners Service has confirmed the remains are human, and investigators are now trying to identify them.
Investigators say it's difficult to determine how long the shoe was in the water, but they can get a sense of when the person would have gone missing based on its style and manufacturer.
That particular shoe appears to have gone on the market sometime after March 2013, said regional coroner Matt Brown.
"So I think it's fair to say we are looking for someone gone missing from March 2013 and December 2015," he said.
Brown added it's difficult to pinpoint when the shoe entered the water because of ocean currents.
"That's why we're working with our police counterparts and through our own information to determine who may be missing in the area to perhaps use that as a starting point."
The discovery is the latest in a series of disarticulated feet being found along the West Coast.
Fifteen feet have washed up on the shores of B.C. and Washington State since 2007 — the latest incident was in Seattle in 2014.
"I believe most of these were determined to be suicides," said Brown. None of the B.C. cases involved foul play.
"In this case, we don't believe there is anything to indicate any level of suspicion at this time."
It appears the foot disarticulated naturally from the rest of the body, a result of prolonged immersion in water, the Coroners Service said in a release.
It hopes to identify the remains using DNA testing and bring closure to the family.
With files from CHEK