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Shoes with bones inside deemed a hoax

Sep 01 2012
Victoria police closed off part of Clover Point Thursday night after three shoes filled with a "meat-like" substance and bones were discovered. Invesitagtors say it was a hoax. 

Victoria police closed off part of Clover Point Thursday night after three shoes filled with a "meat-like" substance and bones were discovered. Invesitagtors say it was a hoax.

Photograph by: Bruce Stotesbury , timescolonist.com (August 2012)

Three children’s shoes filled with a “meat-like” substance and found on the Clover Point shoreline have been branded a hoax by police.

The incident comes almost a year after two running shoes containing beef or pork were found a day apart — one near Oak Bay Marina and the other two kilometres away at McNeill Bay.

Victoria police Const. Mike Russell said examination by pathologists of the Clover Point shoes confirmed they contained “non-human remains,” including some bone.

The first shoe was discovered about 5:30 p.m. Thursday by a tourist from the Lower Mainland, who was quite shaken. The other two were found by police and a police dog after the area around Clover Point was cordoned off.

Police tape remained up until 10:30 p.m.

Russell said that two of the shoes were a matching pair. He said all of the shoes were being processed for evidence, and would likely be shown publicly next week in an effort to generate tips or leads.

Police have launched a “significant” investigation, Russell said, in part because of  the time and effort that went into the discovery.

“We’re looking at it from a public-mischief point of view,” he said. “The hoax caused a significant alarm for our community, and caused a lot of people a lot of worry, and also expended numerous police resources.”

The maximum sentence for public mischief is five years.

Russell said that police had to assume the remains were human until it could be proven otherwise.

“We know that there have been actual confirmed cases of human feet washing up, so when a case like this comes in, 100 per cent we have to take it very seriously.”

The mystery of disembodied feet found inside shoes on Pacific Northwest beaches began in August 2007, when a man’s size-12 sneaker was found on Jedediah Island, off Parksville. The find was later linked through DNA testing to a depressed man who had gone missing a year earlier.

Another man’s running shoe was found less than a week later on Gabriola Island. Four feet — three from men and one from a woman — were found in 2008.

All told, 11 feet have been found since 2007, including two in Washington. Four of the feet have been matched into pairs.

Anyone with information on the Clover Point case is asked to call the VicPD tip line at 250-995-7444, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

jwbell@timescolonist.com

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