Beyond the watery grave

New Scientist, 21. Juni 2008

Foto ON 22 MAY, a severed right foot washed up on Kirkland Island near Vancouver in British Columbia. Bizarrely, it was the fourth such grisly discovery along this part of the Canadian coast in recent months. In August 2007 two right feet were found on Gabriola and Jedediah islands, still wearing size 12 men's running shoes. A third washed up on Valdez Island in February. Who the feet belonged to and how they met their fate is still unknown, and DNA tests have failed to come up with any matches in police databases.
    For forensic scientists this is an all-toofamiliar story. It is not unusual for oceans around the world to disgorge mysterious human remains. Some are suicides, others the victims of swimming, boating or diving accidents. Still others are homicides, their bodies dumped in the ocean.
Yet even when it is possible to identify the remains, there is often little that forensic medicine can say about how the victim died. For the bereaved relatives the uncertainty can be unbearable.
    "How did my son die? Did my girlfriend suffer? What happened to my loved one? These are the first questions that families and friends ask," says Gail Anderson, a forensic entomologist at Simon Fraser

"It's quite realistic to have the pig weighted down. Most killers don't want their body resurfacing immediately"
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(Gerhard Kocher, Schweizer Politologe)