Canadian police are investigating after yet another human foot was found washed up on a beach in British Columbia.
It is the 14th foot to have been found on one of the Canadian province’s southern beaches since 2007 – a grisly trend that is worrying locals and police.
The boot-clad foot was discovered in a pile of logs this week by a man walking along a beach on Gabriola Island, in the Strait of Georgia.
All of the lone feet have been found wearing running shoes or hiking boots.
Theories for the wash-ups range from the gory (serial-killers and organised crime) to natural disasters (such as the 2011 tsunami off Japan) and just plain unfortunate (plane or boat accidents).
But the British Columbia coroner’s office has said all the feet belong to people who either killed themselves or died accidentally. The coroner has ruled out foul play in most of the previous cases, saying none of the feet showed signs of trauma.
Eight of the feet, including two pairs, have been identified.
The grim trend has even caught the eye of practical jokers. In 2016, Barb McLintock of the coroner’s office said there had been a series of copycat pranks that included dog-foot skeletons in runners being left on the beach.
“Somebody even used old chicken bones,” she said.
A man was walking along the southern coast of Vancouver Island when his dog took great interest in an object entangled in seaweed. The man took a closer look and found a fibula and tibia attached to a left foot, all encased in a white sock and black shoe.
The province’s coroner service later said that foot belonged to a 79-year-old Washington state man who had gone missing and was later found dead. The investigation is ongoing.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police is working with forensic experts to identify the remains of the latest discovery.
Gail Anderson, a forensic expert at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, explained the reason behind the growing number of cases.
“Feet easily come apart at the joints, and when they are attached to a flotation device such as a running shoe, they are easily washed ashore,” she told Britain’s Express newspaper.
“Notice there are no feet washing ashore in stiletto heels or flip flops. Also, today’s running shoes are much more buoyant than in the past.”