An athletic shoe containing a human foot was found on a Washington state beach, and authorities are investigating whether it may be linked to a series of human feet found in shoes along the coast of British Columbia.
Undersheriff Ron Peregrin said Monday that the King County medical examiner determined the foot was human and detached from its body naturally after floating in the water.
Peregrin said the foot will be sent for a forensic investigation, including DNA testing to see if it matches feet found washed ashore in British Columbia. Results are expected to take six to eight weeks.
Authorities said a woman told the Clallam County sheriff's office on Saturday that she found the black, high-top shoe along the beach on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, about 30 miles west of Port Angeles.
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 Strait of Juan de Fuca separates the Canadian island and Washington's Olympic Peninsula.
A sixth foot found in June in British Columbia was determined to be an animal paw that had been shoved inside a shoe as a hoax.
"We're a little apprehensive since the last one was a hoax," said Detective Sgt. Lyman Moores.
DNA testing linked one of the Canadian feet to a depressed man who went missing a year ago. Investigators have also concluded that two of the five feet belonged to one man and that one foot was from a woman.
British Columbia coroner Jeff Dolan has said there was no evidence the feet were severed. Experts say that when a human body is submerged in the ocean, the arms, legs, hands, feet and head usually come off the body.