Vancouver, British Columbia British Columbia's coroner's office called the discovery of a sixth floating foot a hoax, saying Thursday it was really an animal paw stuffed inside a running shoe.
Initially, Wednesday's find deepened a mystery surrounding the feet, all of which were recovered within the past year floating within a few miles of each other along island shorelines in the Strait of Georgia near Vancouver.
But the sixth discovery was determined a hoax after coroner's officials determined that it was the skeletal remains of an animal's foot.
"Whoever is responsible for this took the time to ensure that the remains were set up to closely resemble human remains," said Brendan FitzPatrick, an inspector with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
He warned that any hoaxer could face charges, saying the fact someone would go to such lengths is disturbing.
"Due to the nature of these incidents over the past year, many families with missing loved ones are closely watching and wondering if it is their loved one who has been found. The insensitivity shown to the families and the victims involved is unbelievable," he said.
Authorities say they haven't reached any conclusions about the origin of the five feet but are working to determine whether there are any links to any other partial remains recovered in the province. They have declined to say whether they think foul play is involved.
Local speculation has been rife with some reports claiming they belonged to victims of violent crimes or a plane crash.