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British Columbia stray foot tally hits six

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The British Columbia stray foot tally yesterday reached a round half dozen with the discovery of a size 10 right foot wearing a black Adidias trainer which turned up on a beach in Vancouver Island.

According to CTV, the foot was found by a woman collecting rocks who quickly ran for help and encountered one Sandra Malone, who recounted: "I got the chills right away. You know, I got pretty grossed out."

The Canadian foot mystery began last August when two right feet came ashore on small islands north of Vancouver. Another right foot was discovered in February, May saw the fourth wash up on a suburban Vancouver beach, while a fifth - and to date the only left foot - was reported on Monday.

Of the latest grisly find, RCMP Sgt. Mike Tresoor said: "The object will ultimately be examined by a forensic pathologist in attempts to determine the source of the foot and if it is related to other feet recently found."

British Columbia's chief coroner Terry Smith said earlier this week that foul play is not suspected in any of the six cases "because there does not appear to be any evidence the bones were severed". He said: "There is no other process going on other than disarticulation of the feet.''

Investigators are probing whether any of the feet belong to four victims of a Februry 2005 plane crash, including two brothers of Kevin DeCock who's spent the last three years "trying to find their remains, navigating a complex system of channels and currents and calculating where the tides may have taken the bodies".

The coroner's office has asked family members of the crash victims for DNA samples to establish a possible link, and Dr Gail Anderson of the Simon Fraser University Centre for Forensic Research said that while some of the feet might indeed belong to the disappeared quartet, "they could belong to any number of victims lost at sea".

She concluded: "We could be looking at an incident that didn't even officially happen in our waters. It could be one of those massive international boats that goes through this area." ®

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