A sixth human foot washed ashore Wednesday morning in British Columbia, Canada, deepening a mystery that has baffled investigators in this picturesque part of Western Canada for the past year, the dpa reported.
A right foot clad in a size 10 Adidas running shoe was discovered by a woman walking on the beach on the east coast of Vancouver Island, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported.
The discovery came just after another severed foot was found floating off Westham Island on Monday.
"It stretches ones imagination," said British Columbia Chief Coroner Terry Smith. "I can tell you I've never run across something like this."
Sergeant Mike Tresoor of the Campbell River Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment said no other human remains have been found nearby. Police said they are treating it as a criminal investigation and are not discounting the possibility that the latest gruesome find is linked to the other five feet that have washed ashore in the last year.
A womans right foot was found on May 22 on the uninhabited Kirkland Island in the Fraser River, only a few kilometres away from the site of the fifth macabre discovery.
In August 2007, two more feet were discovered on Gabriola and Jedediah islands, and in February 2008 another foot was found on Valdes Island. All three belonged to men.
In all six cases the feet were in socks and shoes.
Police have said there is no evidence the feet were severed or removed from the legs by force. A forensic expert at Simon Fraser University said it is unlikely that the feet belonged to people who each died in separate incidents.
"It's strange that we had a glut of a whole bunch at once," Gail Anderson, who studies the decomposition of human bodies, told CBC. "Maybe if a boat or a plane has gone down, something's disturbed it, a current or another boat hitting it or a dredger moved it so that the body parts are coming free and are being washed ashore."
Anderson said ocean currents could have carried the human remains for hundreds of miles.