Salish Sea human foot discoveries
Since August 2007, twelve detached human feet have been discovered on the coasts of the Salish Sea in British Columbia (Canada) and Washington (United States). The feet belong to five men, one woman, and two other persons of unknown gender, the two left feet having been matched with two of the right feet. As of July 2011, only four feet of three persons have been identified; it is not known to whom the rest of the feet belong.
August 20, 2007 Jedediah Island, British ColumbiaA man’s right foot; size 12 white-and-blue-mesh running shoe. The remains were identified as those of a missing and possibly depressed man from British Columbia.
August 26, 2007 Gabriola Island, British ColumbiaA man’s right foot; size 12 white Reebok.
Valdes Island, British ColumbiaA right foot in a size 11 Nike (same person as June 16 finding). The remains were identified as a 21-year-old Surrey man who died of natural causes.
May 22, 2008 Kirkland Island, British ColumbiaA known woman’s right foot; blue-and-white New Balance sneaker (same person as November 11 finding).
June 16, 2008 Westham Island, British ColumbiaA man’s left foot (same person as February 8 finding).
August 1, 2008 Near Pysht, WashingtonA right foot inside a man’s black size 11 shoe.
November 11, 2008 Richmond, British ColumbiaA known woman’s left foot (same person as May 22 finding).
October 27, 2009 Richmond, British ColumbiaA right foot in a size 8 1/2 Nike shoe. The remains were identified as a Vancounver-area man who was reported missing in January 2008 and died of natural causes.
August 27, 2010 Whidbey Island, WashingtonA juvenile or female’s right foot.
December 5, 2010 Tacoma, WashingtonA juvenile or a small adult’s right foot inside a boy’s size 6 Ozark Trail hiking boot.
August 30, 2011 False Creek, British ColumbiaGender unknown. The foot was found in a man’s white and blue size 9 runner.
November 4, 2011 Sasamat Lake, British ColumbiaA man’s right foot inside a size 12 hiking boot.
December 10, 2011 Lake Union, Seattle, WashingtonHuman leg bone and foot in a black plastic bag under the Ship Canal Bridge.
The series of discoveries has been called “astounding” and “almost beyond explanation”, as no other body parts have turned up.The discoveries have caused speculation that the feet may be those of people who died in a boating accident or a plane crash in the ocean. One explanation is that some of the feet are those of four men who died in a plane crash near Quadra Island in 2005 and whose bodies have not been recovered, though one of the feet has been determined to be from a female.Foul play has also been suggested,although none of the first four feet showed tool marks. This does not rule out foul play, however; it is possible that the bodies could have been weighted down and disposed of, and the feet are separating due to natural decay.
Determining the origin of the feet is complicated because ocean currents may carry floating items long distances, and because currents in the Strait of Georgia may be unpredictable. A foot may float as far as 1,000 miles (1,600 km).Also, human feet have a tendency to become adipocere (a soap-like substance formed from body fat), which makes it hard for forensic scientists to find clues.[Under optimal conditions, a human body may remain intact in water for as long as three decades, meaning that the feet may have been floating around for years.
Another theory is that the feet belonged to people who died in the Asian Tsunami on December 26 of 2004. Richmond, British Columbia-based writer Shane Lambert has advocated this position, pointing to the fact that many of the shoes found were manufactured and sold in 2004 or earlier. Lambert acknowledges that there could be other sources for the shoes or multiple sources. However, besides the dates when the shoes were manufactured, Lambert cites ocean currents and their ultimate northward tendencies up the Pacific Ocean from part of the region that was hit by the 2004 Tsunami.