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Coroner confirms shoe found on Gonzales Beach contained human remains

The coroners office has not said what type and size of shoe was found or exactly where on Gonzales Beach it was located.
Gonzales Beach, where a shoe with suspected human remains was found in July. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

The provincial coroner has confirmed a shoe found on Gonzales Beach in late July contained human remains.

The shoe was discovered July 27 by a man who lives near the Victoria beach and reported the finding to the B.C. Coroners Service.

Ryan Panton, manager of communications for the B.C. Coroners Service, said Tuesday the remains found at Gonzales Beach were confirmed as human, making it an active coroners investigation.

“Because of this, our work is subject to a legislated prohibition on information sharing,” said Panton. “With that said, part of our mandate is to identify the decedents whose deaths we investigate, so that will be a part of our work moving forward.”

He provided no other ­information, including the type and size of shoe or the exact location on Gonzales Beach where it was found.

Authorities say a foot encased in a shoe is sometimes the only thing left when a body is in the water and decomposes over lengthy periods.

Investigators use missing persons reports to find DNA that can link the remains to a person.

A series of shoes and human remains were found on the Pacific coast between 2007 and 2018, including six shoes around Vancouver Island. Fifteen separate shoes with remains have since been linked to people who lost their lives in the water. The last identification came in 2021, according to the coroner.

The coroners service said the first foot in the series was found Aug. 20, 2007, on Jedediah Island, northeast of Nanaimo. The right foot was linked to a man who went missing in early 2007.

Another was found Aug. 26, 2007, on Gabriola Island. It was a right foot and linked by DNA to a man who went missing in 2006.

On Feb. 8, 2008, on Valdes Island, a right foot belonging to a male was found in a Nike runner. The left foot was found the following June in the Fraser River.

On May 22, 2008, on Kirkland Island at the mouth of the Fraser River, a right female foot in a size 7 New Balance shoe was discovered. The following November, the left foot was found on a Fraser River beach in Richmond.

On Sept. 30, 2011, in False Creek, a human foot and leg bones were found in a shoe.

Both feet of a man who went missing on Nov. 13, 2013, were discovered on Botanical Beach near Port Renfrew within a few days in February 2016.

Another discovery was made in December 2017 near Jordan River. Those remains were linked to a man who went missing three months before.

In May 2018, a shoe and foot were discovered on Gabriola Island. They were later linked to a man who went missing a few months earlier.

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