Beached Shoes With Feet Inside

Beached Shoes With Feet Inside

Imagine you're taking a lovely stroll along the beach one day, when you encounter a running shoe lying on the sand.  Inside: a decomposed human foot.  Hard to believe, but seven such feet have been found on the beaches of the Pacific Northwest to date.  

The first two feet were found only a week apart, on islands in the Strait of Georgia, in August of 2007.  Both feet were left, and male, and encased in running shoes.  The first was found on Jedediah Island on August 20th, and the second was found in a Reebok shoe on Gabriola Island on August 26th.  Authorities were baffled, and the public was titillated and a little bit scared.  

Only a few months before, the trial of Robert Pickton, the Vancouver, BC pig farmer and prolific serial killer had begun.  The trial was still in motion when the first two feet were found, and many people jumped immediately to the conclusion that the severed feet were the work of a serial killer.  Since Pickton's victims were all female, and he notoriously fed his victims' remains to his pigs, it was assumed that these feet were the hallmark of a second serial killer active in the area.  

Foot #3, a man's right foot, washed up in a Nike shoe on Valdes Island on February 8, 2008.  

Foot #4 was found in a New Balance shoe on Kirkland Island just a few weeks later, on May 22nd.  This was the first female foot to be found.  

Foot #5 was a man's left foot, found on Westham Island on June 16.  This one was later matched with Foot #3, from Valdes Island.

Foot #6 was a man's right foot, found in a trail shoe on the Washington coast, off the Strait of Juan de Fuca on August 1, 2008.  This was the first foot to be found outside Canada, although it wasn't too far from the others.

Foot #7, a woman's left foot in a New Balance shoe, was found on the Fraser River on November 11, 2008.  This foot matched the woman's right foot, #4, which was found on Kirkland Island.

Foot #8 was found on October 27, 2008.  It was later identified as being that of a man who had been reported missing.  Foul play is not suspected, "due to the circumstances of his death."

Confusing the issue was a hoax foot, which was planted along the Campbell River.  This was an animal's paw, tucked into a sock inside a shoe.  Why anyone would try to pull a prank like this is anyone's guess, really.  Ha ha!  Whatever.

As to why this keeps happening, scientists found that the feet of a sunken corpse will quickly be "disarticulated" by the work of crabs and other aquatic scavengers.  Once the foot is separated from its body, a running shoe is buoyant enough to carry it a long distance on ocean currents.

The real surprise is that the shoe thing only started in 2007.  Presumably feet have been washing up in running shoes for decades, at least since the early models of Air Jordans and Reeboks became popular.  The consensus of the RCMP and the researchers involved is that this is a combination of coincidence and increased public awareness of disarticulated human feet in running shoes. Although naturally, not everyone is convinced!