VANCOUVER — British Columbia’s Coroner’s Service has solved the 25-year-old disappearance of a Vancouver man and along with it, another floating-foot mystery.
The coroner said foot bones that washed ashore on Sasamat Lake in Port Moody, B.C., belonged to a man who vanished while fishing on the lake in January 1987.
Stefan Zahorujko, 65, was fishing alone on the lake when he disappeared.
“His overturned boat, fishing gear and personal effects were later discovered floating in the middle of the lake by rescue personnel,” the coroner’s office said in a news release.
The man’s vehicle and trailer were found nearby.
Several searches and recovery efforts were made but the man’s body was never found. It was presumed he had fallen from the boat and drowned.
Last November, a camper spotted a hiking boot in the water and inside were the remains of a foot.
The bones were identified through DNA analysis and with the help of Coquitlam RCMP, the Port Moody Police Department and the B.C. Police Missing Person’s Centre.
Between August 2007 and November 2011, nine feet belonging to seven people have been discovered along the B.C. coast or in Sasamat Lake.
The coroner has matched seven of those feet to five individuals.
The coroner’s office said work continues to identify the remaining two feet, which originate from males.
The BC Coroners Service said there’s no indication that any of the deaths are suspicious.
Coroner Steve Fonseca has said that the feet are found because the footwear is buoyant and when the body decomposes the remains inside the shoes float to the surface.