Lawrence and Douglas County

Lawrence and Douglas county

Amputee happy to be reunited with foot

Police had seized limb after complaints from neighbors about public spectacle

July 26, 2005


Fortunately for Ezekiel Rubottom, there's no law against keeping your severed foot in a bucket on the front porch.

Rubottom, a 21-year-old Lawrence resident, ex-pressed relief Monday after police gave him back his left foot, which he began storing in a five-gallon bucket of formaldehyde on the porch at 627 Conn. after it was amputated three weeks ago. Police seized the foot Saturday, thinking it could have been evidence of a crime, but returned it after verifying Rubottom was the rightful owner.

"It's cool. It's all good," Rubottom said. "Now I've got my foot back. That's all I wanted."

Rubottom, an artist, occasional hip-hop emcee and recovering methamphetamine addict, is technically homeless right now but often stays with a friend at the home on Connecticut. He said he was born with a clubbed left foot and struggled throughout his life with pressure sores and infections.

Earlier this summer, a bone infection in the foot got so bad that he had to have it amputated at Lawrence Memorial Hospital. He decided to keep it.

Ezekiel Rubottom, who had his left ankle and foot amputated three weeks ago, found himself the center of attention over the weekend. Lawrence Police came to the house where Rubottom was staying and took the amputated limb after complaints from neighbors about a number of people showing up to look at the foot. Police returned Rubottom's foot on Monday after establishing that it did indeed belong to him.

Ezekiel Rubottom, who had his left ankle and foot amputated three weeks ago, found himself the center of attention over the weekend. Lawrence Police came to the house where Rubottom was staying and took the amputated limb after complaints from neighbors about a number of people showing up to look at the foot. Police returned Rubottom's foot on Monday after establishing that it did indeed belong to him.

"I'm not sick or, like, a danger," he said. "I just wanted my foot ... I just figured I'd do with it whatever I pleased."

He said a pathologist at LMH checked the foot to make sure it wouldn't be a hazard, and told him he could take it - as long as he had his own container that was labeled with handling instructions for the formaldehyde.

"My friend bought me a Westlake Hardware bucket, and that's where I stuck it," he said.

Karen Shumate, vice president of quality services for LMH, said people are allowed to keep body parts if they want them.

"They've had women that want their uterus. People take tonsils. They take appendixes," she said. "I think it's unusual that someone would want a foot, but it's within their rights because it's theirs."

Rubottom admits it may sound unusual, but to him, that's part of the appeal. Not everyone, he said, can say he keeps his own foot in a bucket.

"It's interesting," he said. "It's mine."

Soon after the amputation, news spread. People started coming by asking to see it.

Rubottom said he cut off two toes, which he was considering giving to friends. He added trinkets to the bucket, including a porcelain horse and a can of Hamm's beer, to make it what he called "a collage of myself."

"I think I'm doing better with this than anybody will ever be that's gotten something amputated," he said.

On Saturday, the foot's popularity went a little too far. Officers came to the home about 10:30 p.m. after getting a call from the parent of a child who lives nearby and had described seeing the foot, said Sgt. Dan Ward, a police spokesman.

When police arrived, some of Rubottom's friends were there, but he wasn't. To be careful, officers confiscated the bucket and put it into evidence storage.

"We had to make sure that no crime had been committed," Ward said.

Lawrence Police on Monday returned a five-gallon bucket containing a severed foot in formaldehyde to its owner, Ezekiel Rubottom.

Lawrence Police on Monday returned a five-gallon bucket containing a severed foot in formaldehyde to its owner, Ezekiel Rubottom.

Karen Johnson, who lives at Seventh and Connecticut streets, isn't amused. She said the home where Rubottom stays, which is divided into five apartments, has been a noisy nuisance lately.

"We've had a lot of vehicles coming down our alley," she said. "We've had quite the flow of transients in the alleyway and around the house."

Rubottom said an officer picked him up Monday and took him to LMH, where he signed a release form that allowed police to see medical records verifying that he'd had the amputation.

Sitting on the porch Monday afternoon, he put on a plastic glove, dipped a hand into the bucket and lifted out the foot for anyone to see. The next time, he joked, it would cost $2 to see it.


invisible_insanity 12 years, 10 months ago

I like how the cops made him go to the hospital to prove that he had an amputation. I guess the absense of a foot wasn't enough.

GreenEyedBlues 12 years, 10 months ago

Has he named the foot? I think "Pinky" or "Stinky" would be super cute.

wiser22 12 years, 10 months ago

Maybe with his amputated foot nearby on the porch, his phantom pains aren't so bad...?

p.s. kansaskev61, i definitely enjoyed your comments.

wegener 12 years, 10 months ago

I am an amputee and I think this is very gross!

imagold 12 years, 10 months ago

He's obviously gotten off on the wrong foot with the neighbors. This story gives me the creeps.

Manson 12 years, 10 months ago

Quality news from a quality news source. Is this the top story today? I've got an uncle in town with a big toe attached to what would be his thumb and wears a diaper for fun. Would that qualify for a story in the paper? I guess it's hard to beat a foot in a bucket.

memoirs_of_a_sleepwalker 12 years, 10 months ago

What a title . . . Is the foot happy to be reunited as well?

tir 12 years, 10 months ago

Personally, I am saddened that this story made the headlines while a horrible and shameful incident of animal cruelty was buried in a story about the cold front coming through. Here's what I'm referring to, quoted from the weather story:

"But the heat took its toll on a dog, which was found dead Friday outside a house in the 1300 block of Brook Street. A veterinarian confirmed that the dog, an 8-year-old cocker spaniel mix, died from heat stroke. Officials said they thought the dog had gone about four days without water and shade."

It doesn't say if the dog was a stray or someone's neglected pet, but surely somebody should have noticed and helped the poor animal.

mathis 12 years, 10 months ago

tir: I don't know if you saw the paper edition of the J-W, but the story you refer to is "buried" on the front page.

tir 12 years, 10 months ago

No, sorry, mathis, I don't get the paper edition anymore--just read the JW online. I'm glad to hear that the story wasn't buried in the print version--maybe people will read it and be reminded that we all need to watch out for animals as well as people in this heat.

bluedog 12 years, 10 months ago

I'm still feeling naseated by this article. No pun intended...but couldn't it have gotten a footnote in the police reports. Did it have to go on the front page?

raven 12 years, 10 months ago

I am very doubtful that this is really going to go any further than front page Lawrence Journal World today. I am not shocked, it is ridiculous that he wanted his foot and ridiculous that it is in the paper. More serious and important things are going on in Lawrence, Kansas and the Country then some sicko who wants to keep his foot.

Linda Aikins 12 years, 10 months ago

Let's vote for a ban on public displays of severed body parts.

dex 12 years, 10 months ago

pathetic. if lawrence is such a great "community" then why do his neighbors complain about noise? they should give that dude a hand!

hey commish! how many unrelated body parts can be kept on the porch of a single family residence?

bluedog 12 years, 10 months ago

I kept my tonsils for about six months...then they started to look decayed, so I pitched them.

kansaskev61 12 years, 10 months ago

If I was this idiot, I would tell the neighbors not to set foot on my porch. After reading this I was laughing and stomping my foot. I wonder if this guys favorite movie is "My Left Foot"? Those silly Lawrence cops, you give 'em an inch and they take a foot. Only in Larryville. I'm a Lawrence native currently living in LA LA Land. I'm ever so proud to say I'm from Kansas. I turn on the TV and CNN and Court TV are highlighting the best of Kansas. Lets see, the BTK killer, the K-State Prof who killed his wife, the Miller murder, In Cold Blood, William Burroughs, God Versus Evolution, The KU Prof who uses porn to teach sex education and now this joker. I hope Letterman, Leno, the Daily Show and all the other late night talk shows have a field day with this one. This fool needs to charge admission now that the word is out. He should charge by the foot or two bucks per person. Let's see, I've heard of a pickled pigs foot but a pickled Meth's foot. Now that's just ridiculous!

Manson 12 years, 10 months ago

You got us Kansaskev61 ! That will teach us from ever getting into a Pi$$ing contest with LA. I mean the freaks there come by the dozen right? From the police beatings to the regular shootings I guess Lawrence can't hold a candle to LA.

robinrander 12 years, 10 months ago

Lawrence may well be the best place ever. "Here's campus, here's downtown. This is Clinton Lake, and there's the guy who keeps his foot in a bucket on a porch."

Masshole 12 years, 10 months ago

He should have parties and make people pay to see it. He could charge by the foot. (<-- worse pun ever)

gontek 12 years, 10 months ago

Lets see, give him a foot and he takes a mile?

when my feet are sore, I like to soak them too...

someone already mentioned getting footloose,

when he stands next to the bucket, is he beside himself?

Someone give this guy a hand- no wait...

Reminds me of the end of Superbowl 34 between the Rams & Titans - ending up about 1 foot short

I hope he doesn't kick himself for doing this story...

Yep - I see this story is already being passed around the AP, now including the Boston Globe among others.

dex 12 years, 10 months ago

think of the centerpiece possibilities if he throws a football party this fall -- i hope i'm invited.

kansaskev61 12 years, 10 months ago

Hey Manson,

That's why I said LA LA land. I'm a proud Kansan who happens to be living in LA. I didn't say I was proud to be here. And I didn't say LA was better than Lawrence. It's not a Pi$$ing contest. But with LA at about a thousand times the population Lawrence is getting pretty close and that's nothing to shake your foot at. I'll still call the Lawrence home!

I was writing in a style called SATIRE!!!!!!!

Don't get your liberal panties in a bunch. Lawrence is still the liberal capitol of Kansas. No one can take that away from the place. That's whay the footless guy probably moved here in the first place. Guys like you could embrace his "diversity". And the drugs were easy to get!

bluedog 12 years, 10 months ago

Someone from the LJ-World step in...I'd like to know how many people have clicked on the link to the article today. I know I've sent the link to my friends all over the country.

gontek 12 years, 10 months ago

He already has hit foot in the door,

now he needs to put his best foot forward.

gontek 12 years, 10 months ago

Were the officers who took him in on foot patrol?

And we taxpayers have to foot the bill for their time spent on this non-crime?

Linda Aikins 12 years, 10 months ago

I toed you it would get ugly. Good ones Gontek.


simple_simon 12 years, 10 months ago

Okay, I want everyone here to stop what they're doing, go back, and reread that part of the story about him cutting off two toes and considering giving them to friends....and then continue reading about the porcelain horse and the can of Hamm's beer and all of that stuff about those things being " a collage of himself"!!!!!-----That paragraph says it all!!! This young man is soooo twisted it's sad! Truly, I don't know whether to laugh at him or weep for him! What a lost soul!

You know, people like bennyotes can defend him all they want.....but this guy is pathetic!!

hurlehey 12 years, 10 months ago

anybody who's ever had the smelly displeasure of meeting this twerp (he bums change in front of Amy's) doesn't feel the least bit sorry for him. He's lying about how it happened as well. When an infection brought from an uncared for cut on his toe became gangrened he sat around showing it to people using it as a way to get money from passersby.

lunacydetector 12 years, 10 months ago

mr. rubottom (is that his REAL name?) will soon be featured on the drudge report, as well as national news.

too bad "Cops" wasn't in town to record this discovery.

MadMiddle 12 years, 10 months ago

Once again, bennyoates shows where his/her brain is. The reason there is no law against keeping body parts in a bucket is because its never been a very common problem. In fact, formaldehyde is a rather nasty substance; and body parts are almost certainly a health hazard. Why aren't you against this? You've taken vigilant stands against smoking, and you defend the smoking ban. Yet you think its OK for a person to walk around with his pickled severed foot in a bucket. I'm not sure if I am more offended by your idiocy or lack of consistency.

algarcia 12 years, 10 months ago

Look, as entertaining as this whole story is, I do think it's a little sad that all of you have some silly pun when the really important stories hardly get any response. Not to ruin the mood, but if you all paid as much attention to the important stories, maybe Kansans wouldn't be made fun of as much as we are. Just a thought...

gontek 12 years, 10 months ago

The guy obviously has a sense of humor, as do most, if not all amputees. I actually found a joke website run by and for amputees today.

Linda Aikins 12 years, 10 months ago

Gosh no, Larryville. Maybe we can get the Reverend Fred Phelps to pray for us.

Jay_Z 12 years, 10 months ago

This story made it on,2933,163730,00.html

Way to report the real news ljworld and give Lawrence some great publicity!

teach_24 12 years, 10 months ago

Someone in Lawrence reads FoxNews??? That surprises me more than a homeless guy keeping a foot in a bucket.

razethedead 12 years, 10 months ago

well, his neighbors can't complain, he's a transient. And a drug dealer, I can't believe this made the front page. "transient drug dealer keeps foot in bucket and scares kids!" Saying it's art doesn't make it right. Don't cosign this guys delusions...he needs help, he's not a recovering drug addict, he just plays one in the paper.®

lexypants 12 years, 10 months ago

All I know is that Zeke is way funnier, more awesome, and generally more worthwhile than all y'all who are hating on him. In fact, even just his FOOT is.

kansas 12 years, 10 months ago

"all y'all".......

So well put, lexy. So well put.

This guy sounds like an idiot, and honestly, so do you, lexy! So do you! I feel sorry for both of you!

gutenberg 12 years, 10 months ago

Zeke, I hope compassion comes your way, along with all of this an artist you'll learn you never know when fame and fortune will appear, so it's always wise to be prepared. Looks like you've got a leg up on Van Gogh. Ride the wave, brother, ride the wave.

raine 12 years, 10 months ago

thanks zeke and thanks LJW.. i needed a good laugh and the story was definitely a laugh but the comments are a bonus... i'm sending this to everyone i know...

Talon 12 years, 10 months ago

On The Street: January 9, 2004 What is Kansas' biggest environmental issue? Asked at Massachusetts Street

"People driving around in vehicles such as SUVs that put emissions into our air and destroy it."

  • Ezekiel Rubottom, artist, Lawrence

space_rabbit_kerosene 12 years, 10 months ago

I have known this fellow for a few years and he is really a nice guy. i think the fact he is keeping the foot in bucket, life changing medical problem notwithstanding, is fairly healthy. not everyone takes comfort in watching oprah or joining a support group. i have known people who have sunk into despair after having gone though much less. om zeke

PlazaJen 12 years, 10 months ago

Look at all the fantastic, free advertising Westlake Hardware is getting! "For ALL your storage needs, and artistic collages, too! Ace is the Place!"

spitfire 12 years, 10 months ago

A.L.L. Girl ,you left St Peters Mo for this freakshow?We are all so glad to finally have an address finally.........

Gynecologist 12 years, 10 months ago

At least he's positively able to prove to the ladies he has a "foot" LOL

RoeDapple 8 years, 6 months ago

With only 56 of the original 78 posts still showing, I would say quite a few, Multi!

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