Newspaper: Police knew about footless body before last week

NEW/RelatedWashington officials to send piece of footless skeleton to B.C. (Vancouver Sun, July 22)

(July 21) How do you have a high-profile investigation about five mystery feet washing-up along the coast of British Columbia and not look into the case of a footless body found washed ashore just across the border?

That’s been the question slowly-aimed at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police ever since last Friday’s exclusive CTV report concerning a body found on the shores of Orcas Island, Washington more than a year ago. In fairness, the report also said that the coroner in Washington State never felt compelled to notify the the BC Coroners Service about the Orcas Island discovery until after he was contacted by the CTV crew last week.

But according to a story published in this morning’s Globe and Mail, the RCMP was already aware of the Orcas Island body prior to last week’s CTV story.  Here are the lead paragraphs in today’s Globe and Mail report:

Police investigating washed-up feet knew about an unidentified, footless body found off the shores of Orcas Island in Washington before media reports last week, RCMP Constable Annie Linteau said yesterday.

But she wouldn’t say when they found out about the body or what actions they’ve taken to work with authorities in Washington to see if it is connected to the disembodied feet discovered on B.C.’s shores.

Just last Friday, CTV reported:

But (San Juan County Coroner Randy) Gaylord says Canadian authorities never contacted him, and despite international media coverage he admits he never bothered to tell them he had a footless body.

It wasn’t until CTV News called Gaylord that he decided to inform the BC Coroners Service. It’s asked for DNA.

The long delay in making the connection between the U.S. body and the B.C. feet raises questions about communication between jurisdictions.

Now let’s return to this morning’s Globe and Mail:

San Juan County coroner Randall Gaylord said Canadian authorities didn’t contact him to ask about the body until last Thursday. According to documents from the sheriff’s office, U.S. authorities informed the Canadian Police Information Centre about the find in May, 2007. Sheriff office records don’t show any contact by the RCMP regarding the detached feet until July 17 of this year.

Although the RCMP recently announced that DNA has helped solve the mystery concerning one of the five feet found in the Strait of Georgia, more questions have surfaced concerning the handling of the information from Washington State.

Was last Friday’s CTV report correct when it suggested the RCMP was unaware of the Orcas Island case until CTV seemingly put the wheels into motion?

On its Web site Friday, CTV posed what had seemed like a fair–and quite serious–question:

The long delay in making the connection between the U.S. body and the B.C. feet raises questions about communication between jurisdictions.

Meantime, according to today’s Globe and Mail, the RCMP only requested a DNA sample of the Orcas Island body just last Thursday.

That alone seems to say a lot.

(You can read all of the stories about the B.C. Mystery Feet here.)

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