A Canadian couple made a horrifying discovery on a beach at the weekend when they found a severed foot inside a washed up running shoe.
Charlotte Stevens was walking on Vancouver Island’s Botanical Beach when her husband found the New Balance sneaker.
She told CBC:
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.
According to the Daily Mail it’s the 16th time in the last nine years that a severed foot has washed ashore in British Columbia and Washington state.
Despite most of the discoveries being right feet, contained in a running or hiking shoe, officials have told the public not to be overly concerned by the frequency of the finds.
Coroner Matt Brown has determined the owner of the latest foot may have been missing it since 2013, but believes most cases are likely the result of suicide.
I believe most of these were determined to be suicides. In this case, we don’t believe there is anything to indicate any level of suspicion at this time.
He also told CBC the latest foot seemed to have ‘disarticulated naturally’ from a body, having been submerged under water for some time.
The official explanation hasn’t stopped people from speculating on a range of possible causes.
The Toronto Star reported in 2011 that theories range from: “natural disasters, such as the tsunami of 2004, to the work of drug dealers, serial killers and human traffickers”.
The Star also cited a plane that crashed off Quadra Island three years ago with five men aboard. Only one body was located.
Forensic expert Mark Mendelson told the Daily Beast in 2011:
There are so many coincidences taking place. Everybody who jumps off a bridge is wearing runners?…Until you can show me something pathologically concrete that this is a natural separation of that foot from a body, then I’m saying you’ve got to think dirty.
DNA investigators are now trying to identify who the foot belongs to.