New mystery foot found on Wash. state shoreline

New mystery foot found on Wash. state shoreline
PYSHT, Wash. - A shoe containing bones and flesh has been discovered on a remote Strait of Juan de Fuca beach about 40 miles west of Port Angeles, 14 miles from the Canadian shoreline.

The grisly discovery comes nearly a year after the first of five sneakers containing human feet were found washed ashore in British Columbia, triggering one of the most bizarre cases in provincial history.

The latest shoe, described as a hiking boot, does not match any of those discovered earlier in Canada. But, like four of the five others already found, it is a right foot.

A camper found the large black, high-top shoe in seaweed while walking along the shore near the mouth of Jim Creek on Friday, and relayed the discovery to the Clallam County Sheriff's Department at about 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

Clallam County Undersheriff Ronald Peregrin said the shoe could have been there for a long time before it was found.

He thought that it probably washed ashore during high tide because of its position, tangled among seaweed and other debris, and could have been there for weeks or even longer. He has notified Canadian authorities about the discovery.

The site where it was found is about 14 miles from the nearest Canadian shoreline - the southern coast of Vancouver Island on the north side of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Clallam County Detective Sgt. Lyman Moores said the shoe probably belonged to a man, although he couldn't identify the brand or size.

The remains were covered with a sock and tucked inside the shoe.

"A shoe with a sock in it, some bones and flesh and stuff in it appeared to be human bones," said Jim Shay, the camper who discovered the shoe.

Moores said he doesn't have any idea where it came from - or if the decomposing bones and flesh belong to a person or an animal.

A sixth foot found in June in B.C. was determined to be an animal paw that had been shoved inside an athletic shoe as a hoax.

"We're a little apprehensive since the last one was a hoax," Moores said of the shoe found near the logging settlement of Pysht between Port Angeles and the town of Clallam Bay.

The bones and flesh should be identified as human or not by the end of this week, Moores said.

   A cadaver dog searches for human remains near the spot where a shoe was found along the Strait of Juan de Fuca with flesh and bones inside.
A cadaver dog were brought to the scene on Sunday to see if it could detect any other remains, but nothing else was found on a mile-long stretch of shoreline near the site of the shoe's discovery.

Clallam County Undersheriff Ronald Peregrin said one oddity about the shoe's location is that tides in the Strait of Juan de Fuca don't really move toward Canada. Instead, they move east and west.

Five athletic shoes containing human feet have been found along the Strait of Georgia between Vancouver Island and the British Columbia mainland since August 2007.

The bizarre findings baffled Canadian officials.

The first foot was found nearly a year ago on Jedidiah Island in the Strait of Georgia. Within days, another right foot was found inside a man's Reebok sneaker on nearby Gabriola Island.

The third foot was found in the same area, on the east side of Valdez Island in February. The fourth foot was found in May on Kirkland Island in the Fraser River, less than a mile from a the site where the fifth foot was found later on.

So far, one of the five feet has been linked to a depressed man who went missing a year ago, and two of the other feet were determined to be from the same unknown person. One of the feet belongs to a woman; the rest are men's feet.

Beyond that, the shoes and their origins remain am enigma.

Adding to the mystery is the discovery of a footless body found on an Orcas Island beach in March 2007 - about five months before the first detached foot appeared in Canada. Authorities are trying to determine whether there is a connection between the body and any of the feet.

Curtis Ebbesmeyer, an oceanographer based in Seattle, said when a human body is submerged in the ocean, main parts like arms, legs, hands, feet and the head are usually what come off the body.

Ebbesmeyer said the feet could have been severed or detached from their bodies on their own.

The Peninsula Daily News, a media partner of KOMO News, contributed to this report. To read the complete Peninsula Daily News story, click here.