Police investigation begins as shoe washes up on beach with a foot still inside

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By Phoebe Egoroff

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Police in New Zealand have begun investigations into a gruesome discovery after a shoe and a human body part washed up on a beach this past weekend.

A member of the public found the shoe - which still contained a foot - on the popular Petone Beach in the country's capital city, Wellington, on Saturday (March 25) Metro reported.

No further finds have been reported so far, despite officers conducting patrols in the area over the weekend, with divers and patrol boats spotted continuing the search on Monday (March 27).

However, detective sergeant Steve Williamson told reporters that the local police are not treating it as evidence of a homicide.

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Wellington's Petone Beach, where the discovery was made. Credit: Hans Wagemaker / Stockimo / Alamy

Speaking to 7News Australia, Williamson stated: "Police completed a land and water search around the area the shoe was located. Nothing further was located." He then added that his team will be releasing further details following an investigation into the foot.

As of Monday, New Zealand police told the outlet: "The search is continuing today for any items that may be relevant to police inquiries in and around the area the shoe was found."

A local resident told New Zealand press, as reported by Metro: "We bring our kids down here. You’re not sure if you’re going to find the other one."

According to Artspace Gallery owner Alfred Memelink - whose business is close to Petone Beach - the search appeared extensive. Speaking to The New Zealand Herald, Memelink said: "They were going up and down, sort of like they had a good search pattern backwards and forwards along the beach. It looked like they were scanning for something.

He continued: "We usually go for a beach walk every day and for some reason, we didn't this morning. What went through my mind was that it easily could have been us who came across it, and it would have been pretty gruesome."

A local resident also spoke to the outlet about the continued and extensive search, stating: "About six people wearing blue overalls arrived, as well as a dog handler. It is very unsettling for the community. We have got old ladies who live just beside us and we are quite worried now, what's next."

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The buoyancy of modern shoes means they often float back up to the surface (stock image). Credit: Tunnell / Stockimo / Alamy

While the discovery is gruesome, it is not the first time a shoe with a human foot in has washed up on a beach.

Per Metro, over 20 human feet have washed up in shoes since 2007 along the coast of the Salish Sea in the United States and Canada.

While such a discovery often leads to fears that the person in question had been murdered, there can be many other explanations for how the person died, such as drownings, accidents, or a person taking their own life.

Experts say that it is likely to do with the way scavenging sea creatures break down bodies in the sea, usually beginning with the parts which are already exposed, meaning the feet can often detach from the leg and float to the surface with the shoe still attached, thanks in part to the buoyancy of the shoe itself.

Featured image credit: fishHook Photography / Alamy

Police investigation begins as shoe washes up on beach with a foot still inside

vt-author-image

By Phoebe Egoroff

Article saved!Article saved!

Police in New Zealand have begun investigations into a gruesome discovery after a shoe and a human body part washed up on a beach this past weekend.

A member of the public found the shoe - which still contained a foot - on the popular Petone Beach in the country's capital city, Wellington, on Saturday (March 25) Metro reported.

No further finds have been reported so far, despite officers conducting patrols in the area over the weekend, with divers and patrol boats spotted continuing the search on Monday (March 27).

However, detective sergeant Steve Williamson told reporters that the local police are not treating it as evidence of a homicide.

wp-image-1263203162 size-full
Wellington's Petone Beach, where the discovery was made. Credit: Hans Wagemaker / Stockimo / Alamy

Speaking to 7News Australia, Williamson stated: "Police completed a land and water search around the area the shoe was located. Nothing further was located." He then added that his team will be releasing further details following an investigation into the foot.

As of Monday, New Zealand police told the outlet: "The search is continuing today for any items that may be relevant to police inquiries in and around the area the shoe was found."

A local resident told New Zealand press, as reported by Metro: "We bring our kids down here. You’re not sure if you’re going to find the other one."

According to Artspace Gallery owner Alfred Memelink - whose business is close to Petone Beach - the search appeared extensive. Speaking to The New Zealand Herald, Memelink said: "They were going up and down, sort of like they had a good search pattern backwards and forwards along the beach. It looked like they were scanning for something.

He continued: "We usually go for a beach walk every day and for some reason, we didn't this morning. What went through my mind was that it easily could have been us who came across it, and it would have been pretty gruesome."

A local resident also spoke to the outlet about the continued and extensive search, stating: "About six people wearing blue overalls arrived, as well as a dog handler. It is very unsettling for the community. We have got old ladies who live just beside us and we are quite worried now, what's next."

wp-image-1263203182 size-full
The buoyancy of modern shoes means they often float back up to the surface (stock image). Credit: Tunnell / Stockimo / Alamy

While the discovery is gruesome, it is not the first time a shoe with a human foot in has washed up on a beach.

Per Metro, over 20 human feet have washed up in shoes since 2007 along the coast of the Salish Sea in the United States and Canada.

While such a discovery often leads to fears that the person in question had been murdered, there can be many other explanations for how the person died, such as drownings, accidents, or a person taking their own life.

Experts say that it is likely to do with the way scavenging sea creatures break down bodies in the sea, usually beginning with the parts which are already exposed, meaning the feet can often detach from the leg and float to the surface with the shoe still attached, thanks in part to the buoyancy of the shoe itself.

Featured image credit: fishHook Photography / Alamy