A human foot in a white New Balance sneaker was found on the shore at Centennial Park, near Pier 68, around 10 this morning by volunteers cleaning the park, according to the Port of Seattle.
“They were cleaning up trash at the park and came across a tennis shoe,” said Port of Seattle spokesman Peter McGraw. “Upon further examination, they found there was a foot in it.”
McGraw said Port police investigated and then turned the shoe and foot over to the King County Medical Examiner’s Office for further investigation.
Six years ago, five bodiless feet — all encased in buoyant sneakers — were found washed ashore in British Columbia. Four of the feet were right feet and the fifth was a left.
The mystery, which caused international intrigue, was never precisely solved.
One of the world’s foremost experts on floating objects, oceanographer Curtis Ebbesmeyer, of Seattle, said at that time disarticulated feet do show up in oceans from time to time.
It’s common for decomposing bodies to come apart at the joints, he said, including at the ankles. He knows of at least two feet turning up in Puget Sound over the past decade. New, lightweight sneakers help keep the remains buoyant, while also protecting remains from birds, by floating sole up.
Ebbesmeyer said he had tracked the serial numbers of shoes found floating in the water and was able to prove that sneakers have remained afloat and even wearable after three years in the ocean.