Discovery in Seattle of human foot in sneaker prompts probe
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King County Medical Examiner's Office
This shoe containing a human foot was found along Seattle's waterfront on May 6.

Peninsula Daily News
news services

SEATTLE — A human foot in a white athletic shoe was found on the shore at Centennial Park, near Pier 68, by volunteers cleaning the park.

“They were cleaning up trash at the park on Tuesday and came across a tennis shoe,” said Port of Seattle spokesman Peter McGraw.

“Upon further examination, they found there was a foot in it.”

McGraw said port police investigated and then turned the shoe and foot over to the King County Medical Examiner's Office for further investigation.

To help identify the person whose foot was in the shoe, the Medical Examiner's Office released a photo of the shoe.

The shoe is a New Balance athletic sneaker, men's size 10, white with blue trim.

The model of shoe first went on sale in April 2008. A black, cotton Hanes brand sock was also on the foot. The sex, age and ancestry of the person who wore the shoe are not known.

Anyone who knows of a missing person who is known to have worn this type of shoe is asked to phone the Medical Examiner's Office at 206-731-3232, ext. 1.

Other discoveries

The Seattle discovery is the latest of more than a dozen cases since 2007 of feet and bones encased in athletic shoes or sneakers that have been found on Northwest beaches.

Most have washed up on British Columbia beaches along the straits of Georgia and Juan de Fuca — and one near Pysht on the North Olympic Peninsula in 2008.

Most of the remains are unidentified, although investigators said at least two of the feet found in the Strait of Georgia belong to men who were reported missing.

One of the world's foremost experts on floating objects, oceanographer Curtis Ebbesmeyer of Seattle, said at that time that disarticulated feet do show up in oceans from time to time.

It's common for decomposing bodies to come apart at the joints, he said, including at the ankles.

He knows of at least two feet turning up on Puget Sound beaches over the past decade.

New lightweight sneakers help keep the remains buoyant while also protecting remains from birds by floating sole-up.

Ebbesmeyer said he had tracked the serial numbers of shoes found floating in the water and was able to prove that sneakers have remained afloat and even wearable after three years in the ocean.

Last modified: May 09. 2014 12:45AM
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