Sixth severed foot found in B.C. deemed a hoax
Jun 19, 2008 at 2:29 PM PDT
By KOMO Staff & News Services VANCOUVER, B.C. -- The story of severed feet washing ashore on British Columbia beaches took yet another strange twist Thursday when police announced that the discovery of a sixth foot Wednesday turned out to be a hoax.
Initial reports from the coroner's office say this latest foot was instead an animal paw along with a sock packed with dried seaweed that was stuffed into a shoe, made to mimic earlier discoveries of severed human feet washing up on area beaches.
"Time was taken to ensure that the remains were set up to closely resemble human remains," said Inspector Brendan FitzPatrick, the Operations Officer for the E Division Major Crime Section. Their office recommends police pursue mischief charges and possibly animal cruelty charges to whoever is responsible.
Five actual severed human feet either have washed up on shorelines or been found in the waters along the Strait of Georgia over the past several months, including one Monday morning floating near Westham Island. Authorities say they haven't reached any conclusions about the origin of the feet but are working to determine if there are any links to any other partial remains recovered in the province.
"To my knowledge, we have not encountered anything like this," RCMP spokeswoman Annie Linteau told The Associated Press Wednesday evening. She declined to speculate if foul play was involved.
"In the first four cases, we did not find any evidence the feet were severed," she said.
She said the fifth case was being handled by local police and was not under RCMP jurisdiction.
Terry Smith, the chief coroner of British Columbia, said this week that DNA profiles from the first three feet have not helped to determine identities because they have not matched any existing samples.
Local speculation has been rife with some reports claiming they belonged to victims of violent crimes or a plane crash. Smith and others have suggested that the feet didn't sink but floated to shore because they were encased in buoyant running shoes.
The first three feet washed ashore about 40 miles southwest of Vancouver on islands in the Strait of Georgia. The first foot was discovered last summer by beachcombers. Days later, a foot was found inside a man's Reebok sneaker. The remains of a third right foot were found Feb 8.
The fourth foot was found May 22 on Kirkland Island in the Fraser River, about 15 miles south of Vancouver. About a mile away, the fifth foot - and only left foot, was discovered Monday morning floating in water off Westham Island.
The hoax foot was found Wednesday afternoon not too far from where the fifth foot was located.
Anyone with information regarding the Campbell River Shoe Hoax is asked to call Crime Stoppers 1-800-222-8477 or Campbell River Detachment at 1-250-286-6221 . Further, anyone with information with respect to the previous legitimate discoveries of the five shoes containing human remains are also asked to contact Crime Stoppers.
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