Investigators track foot found in Greenbank
By JESSIE STENSLAND
Whidbey News Times Assistant editor
August 31, 2010 · Updated 4:09 PM
Investigators are looking at a number of missing persons cases in the Puget Sound region, including the high-profile disappearance of a Silverdale woman, to find a possible match with a human foot that washed up on the east side of Central Whidbey Island near Greenbank last Friday.
Island County Coroner Robert Bishop said the foot is being sent this week to the Texas Missing Persons DNA Database for DNA analysis and possible matching. A forensic pathologist also examined the foot Tuesday.
Bishop said investigators have been in touch with officials at a number of Western Washington agencies in the hopes of matching the foot to a missing person.
“It will be at least three or four weeks before we have any answers,” Bishop said, referring to the time it takes to perform DNA testing.
One missing person they will be looking at closely, he said, is 29-year-old Shantina Smiley of Silverdale. Smiley and her 8-year-old son disappeared on March 13. The van they were driving was found the next day partially submerged in the water at a remote beach near Olympia. The boy’s body was found a few days later, but his mother was never found.
Bishop said he originally estimated that the foot had been in the water less than two months, but that it’s really impossible to pinpoint a timeframe.
“I wouldn’t put a date on it,” he said.
Based on the size, he said the foot belonged to a juvenile or a woman. It was disarticulated, he added, and there’s no evidence to suggest it was purposely removed from the rest of the body.
The discovery of the foot on Whidbey made national news and garnered a lot of attention in British Columbia, where at least seven individual feet in running shoes have been discovered on beaches over the last four years.
Detective Ed Wallace with the Island County Sheriff’s Office said the Royal Canadian Mounted Police contacted the office about the foot. While he’s not ruling out any possible connection, he pointed out that the feet found on Canada were all in shoes. The foot found on Whidbey was bare.
“No shoes. No socks. Just a foot,” he said.
Nevertheless, the Internet is filled with stories speculating about a possible connection between the Whidbey foot and the mystery of the human feet found in British Columbia. Wikipedia’s entry about the Canadian foot mystery already includes the Whidbey case.
After the visitor found the foot in the Cranes Landing area, investigators set up a containment area around the body part and searched unsuccessfully for other evidence.Contact Whidbey News Times Assistant editor Jessie Stensland at email@example.com or 360.675.6611 ext. 5056.