VANCOUVER, British Columbia — For the fourth time in less than a year, a human foot in a running shoe has been found along the British Columbia coast.
Police said Friday that they don't know if there are any links between the cases of the four severed right feet found on island shorelines in the Vancouver region.
Authorities say they haven't reached any conclusions about the origin of the feet. But local speculation has been rife, with some reports claiming they belonged to victims of violent crimes or a plane crash.
Police said a passer-by found the fourth human foot on Kirkland Island, about 15 miles south of Vancouver on Thursday.
"It's certainly a mystery we intend on solving," police Constable Annie Linteau said.
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 on Jedidiah Island. Days later, a foot was found inside a man's Reebok sneaker on nearby Gabriola Island. The remains of a third right foot were found on the east side of Valdez Island on Feb 8.
There is no evidence to suggest that any of the feet were forcibly removed, Linteau said.
"All four were wearing socks and were in a running shoe," Linteau said.
Two of the feet are size 12. Police have not released the size of the others.
British Columbia chief coroner Terry Smith said DNA profiles have been taken from the first three feet. He declined to comment on the investigation or the new finding.
Linteau said missing persons files were also being examined.
Curtis Ebbesmeyer, a former professor of oceanography at the University of Washington who studies floating objects, said when the third foot was found that the feet could have drifted from as far as 1,000 miles away. Ebbesmeyer said the feet could have been severed or detached from their bodies on their own.