The remains of a human foot still encased in a shoe was found washed ashore near Tacoma about a week ago, raising to 10 the tally of feet found on Pacific Northwest beaches since 2007.
On Dec. 5, a man walking along the shore spotted the foot and called police.
The foot has not been identified yet, but police believe it belonged to a juvenile or small adult.
"Our best guess someone in their mid-to-late teens," Tacoma Police spokesman Mark Fulghum said.
The shoe, a boys' size 6 "OzArk Trail" hiking boot, was sold in Wal-Mart Stores in 2004 and 2005.
The boot could have floated in from the Puyallup River or the Puget Sound. Police have not drawn a connection between this foot and any missing-person case in the area.
The discovery of this foot adds yet another layer to the unsolved mystery of several human feet that have washed ashore in recent years in British Columbia and Western Washington.
All of the previous nine were in running shoes.
The last one was was found Aug. 27, 2010, on Whidbey Island in Washington State.
The first severed foot, discovered in August 2007 on Jedediah Island, northeast of Nanaimo, was associated with a deceased man whose name police withheld at the request of his family. A man's right foot found on Gabriola Island in August 2007 remains unidentified. Two feet found on Valdez and Westham islands in July 2008 belonged to the same man. And two female feet found in Richmond in December 2008 belonged to the same woman.
Timeline of found feet. All but two of the feet were found in British Columbia:
- The first foot was found on Aug. 20, 2007, on Jedediah Island, northeast of Nanaimo. The right, male foot was in a Campus shoe, size 12, that is available for sale primarily in India. It was linked to a depressed man who went missing in early 2007.
- The second foot was found on Aug. 26, 2007, on Gabriola Island. The right, male foot was in a Reebok, size 12. The brand was first produced in 2004 and is no longer for sale.
- The third foot was found on Feb. 8, 2008 on Valdes Island. The right, male foot was in a blue and white Nike, size 11. The model was made between February and June 2003.
- The fourth foot was found on May 22, 2008, on Kirkland Island at the mouth of the Fraser River. The right, female foot was in a size 7 New Balance shoe. The model was made beginning in June 1999.
- The fifth foot was found on June 16, 2008, on Westham Island at the mouth of the Fraser River. The left, male foot had DNA matched with the third foot found on Valdes, but the man’s identity is unknown.
- The sixth foot was found Aug. 1, 2008, near Pysht west of Port Angeles, Wash. The right, male foot was in a men's low-rise, dark hiking-type athletic shoe, made by the Everest Shoe Co., size 11 or 12.
- The seventh foot was found Nov. 11, 2008, on a Fraser River beach in Richmond. The left, female foot had DNA matched with the fourth foot, found on Kirkland Island, and the woman was identified.
- The eighth foot was found in Richmond on Oct. 27, 2009. It was a man's right foot.
- The ninth foot was found Aug. 27, 2010, on Whidbey Island in Washington State. The right, bare foot likely belongs to a woman or child, officials said.