A human foot that was identified through genetic testing via a crowdfunding effort has been connected to a missing woman. The remains that were found in December 2021 consisted of a single women’s size 8 New Balance shoe that contained a human foot. The foot was discovered near the mouth of the Elwha River in Port Angeles, Washington. I’m sure many of you are familiar with the mystery of the detached feet that have washed ashore in the system of waterways called the Salish Sea around the Pacific northwest. The mysterious discoveries of the disembodied feet along the Salish Sea began nearly two decades ago and prompted all manner of theories. From cryptids and aliens to more rational explanations like a plane crash off Burma the mystery of the Salish Sea feet still perplexes many  people to this day. It all began when a girl walking along a beach on Jedediah Island spotted a men’s size 12 blue-and-white running shoe that contained a foot, wearing a sock. Not even a week later, a men’s size 12 black-and-white Reebok shoe with a decomposing foot inside was found by a Vancouver couple. That’s two right feet, belonging to two different people, washing ashore and found within six days of one another. Over the next decade a total of 15 different feet washed up and were discovered around Vancouver Island and the connected waterways. Six additional feet were found around Puget Sound, on the American side on the southernmost portion of the sea. It seems all the feet that washed ashore were wearing sneakers, with the exception of one foot which was wearing a hiking boot. This isn’t the first time DNA testing has been used to identify the mystery feet that have washed ashore. The Coroners Service in British Columbia has linked nine of the feet to seven different missing people.  In this recent case, the foot belonged to 68-year-old Jerilyn L. Smith, a woman who was reported missing from Sequim, a town about 20 miles east from where her foot washed ashore on January 7th, 2018. Smith is presumed to have drowned according to her death certificate.

Jerilyn Smith


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