Thu. Jul. 10 2008
CTV.ca News Staff
Two of the five feet found in British Columbia over the past year came from the same man, police from that province said Thursday.
Appearing at a news conference, RCMP Const. Annie Linteau said there is no evidence of trauma or tool markings to suggest the feet were severed.
"It appears it's a natural process of decomposition," she said, adding, "We have to be aware these still could be homicide victims."
Police say the identities of the victims remain a mystery that they are working to solve. They have compiled a list of all missing persons from British Columbia, and some from Alberta, and are reviewing each file for possible connections to this case.
Their list began with 243 men and 159 women but they have eliminated 130 of the men as possible matches, Linteau said.
She said they have not found any evidence that indicates the incidents are connected but all possibilities are being investigated.
The first foot was found on Jedidiah Island, in the strait that divides Vancouver Island from the mainland, on Aug. 20. It was a right foot inside a Campus-brand men's size 12 running shoe that was mainly distributed in India, police said.
Six days later, another right foot -- inside a man's size 12 Reebok running shoe -- washed ashore on Gabriola Island.
A third, a right foot in a Nike sneaker, was found in the area on Feb. 8 on the east side of Valdez Island.
The fourth and fifth feet were both found near the Fraser River. The fourth came ashore on Kirkland Island on May 22 and was the only one of the five that came from a woman's body. It was found in a New Balance running shoe.
The fifth, a size 10 left foot, was located a kilometre away on June 16. It was later determined to be a match to the foot found months earlier on Valdez Island.
A sixth washed-up shoe was found to be a hoax when police realized it had been stuffed with an animal's paw.
Families wait for results
Family members of two plane crash victims who disappeared in 2005 believe the feet may be those of their loved ones.
After analyzing DNA samples from the feet and members of the crash victims' families, police determined the feet did not belong to Arnie Feast or Fabian Bedard, two of four people who went missing after the crash.
The DNA from the family of brothers Doug and Trevor DeCock is still being analyzed, said Linteau.
The DNA tests tell little else about the feet's original owners, said forensic scientist Dean Hilderbrand. The type of analysis being used, the most common DNA test among North American law enforcement, does not indicate the race of the subject or the date of death, he said.
"These were obviously very challenging samples," he said. "The DNA doesn't give any information about how long these samples have been in the water."
The news conference featured speakers from the RCMP, B.C. Coroner's Office and the Delta Police Service. They showed pictures of the types of sneakers found and listed the years in which each shoe was sold, appealing for help from people whose loved ones may have disappeared wearing similar shoes.
When asked about a foot found in Sweden this week, Linteau said they had no indication it was connected to their investigation.
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