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DNA Testing Could Solve ‘Three Right Feet’ Mystery


DNA testing is used to solve crimes as well as resolve paternity debates or investigate ancestry. As each DNA profile is unique, it’s a definitive way of identifying people or linking them to others, or to crime scenes. Many people in the UK are currently pushing for a compulsory DNA database to help match suspects using DNA tests, but the use of such a database has been heavily criticised by civil liberty groups. The idea that everyone files their DNA profile away so it’s available for DNA testing would however have made the life of Canada’s police force somewhat easier. As it is, they have three right feet and no attached body to identify them with. DNA testing has shown that the three right feet that washed up on Vancouver Island do not match anyone on the police database, making identification a lot more difficult. The feet are causing much mystery and debate, especially as all three are right feet.

DNA Test – Right Foot Forward

The feet have provoked the theory that they could in fact be a mortuary worker’s joke; either that or a major crime has been committed. The feet were washed up over a six month period, the first on an isolated island in British Columbia, found by a 12-year-old girl on a family holiday. She found a size 12 running shoe, with the foot still inside. Six days later, a hiker uncovered another size 12 trainer, and then another right foot appeared off a third island. Police collected DNA for DNA testing, but the feet have flummoxed them.

Murder Mystery or Practical Joke? DNA Tests Could Reveal Truth

It sounds like a horror movie or twisted film plot. Dr Simon Boxall, an oceanographer from the National Oceanography Centre told the British newspaper the Guardian: “It is not that unusual for body parts to turn up in the sea – they can be the result of a fishing accident, or a whole body getting hit by a passing ship, for example – but the fact that all three were clustered so close together does suggest dodgy dealings.” Without DNA samples of the bodies of the feet, it’s impossible to use DNA testing to identify them. Anthropologists suspect they belong to people within the Vancouver area judging by the locations the feet were washed up. Some believe the feet could be a practical joke from a mortuary assistant, but experts on floating objects say left feet and right feet float in different directions, which could mean that some beaches mostly collect rights, while others mostly lefts. Whatever the reason, it’s a gruesome scenario – hopefully one that further DNA tests will help solve if more evidence emerges.

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