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San Juan, B.C. coroners study possible link in foot find

Officials in British Columbia have asked for information which could determine if there is a connection between human remains found in San Juan County in 2007 and a human foot recovered with a shoe on Valdes Island more than a year later.

On July 17, 2008, the B.C. Coroners Service requested DNA analysis of skeletal remains that were found on Orcas Island in March 2007.

According to San Juan County Coroner Randy Gaylord, the partial skeleton — with feet, hands and an arm missing — was found by a hiker on a remote beach west of Point Lawrence in March 2007. At that time, records noted the missing feet.

“The best information we have on this person’s identity is the unique gold inlay in the upper molars,” Gaylord said. He added, “There was no evidence of violence.

He noted that a black Merrell slip-on, rubber-soled shoe and an argyle sock were also found nearby, but their connection to the human remains is unknown.

The remains were examined by a forensic anthropologist who reported that the person was likely a man, about 5 feet 9 inches, plus or minus 3 inches, and likely white or of American Indian, First Nations or Asian ancestry.

The San Juan County Sheriff’s Department widely distributed announcements of the human remains in March 2007 to U.S. and Canadian authorities.

On July 10, 2008, B.C. Coroners Service announced it had completed DNA profiles of the remains found inside tennis shoes that floated ashore in British Columbia.

“This DNA profile will allow us to determine if there is a link between the body found on Orcas and the shoes found in Canada,” Gaylord said.

The Snohomish County Medical Examiner will send a sample of the remains to B.C. this week for DNA analysis.

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