UNIDENTIFIED: 21 bodies have been added to a new national database to help identify missing persons.
UNIDENTIFIED: 21 bodies have been added to a new national database to help identify missing persons. Herald Sun

The curious case of a left foot, washed up in Gladstone

A RENEWED push to help solve the mystery of foot that washed up in Gladstone in 2003 is underway after it was added to a new national police database.

Queensland police have a catalogue of bodies, including the foot, which have never been identified despite decades of investigation.

21 bodies across the state remain unidentified however Detective Senior Sergeant Damien Powell said he was hopeful the new national database of unidentified bodies and long-term missing persons could help provide answers for families.

"In 2003, a left foot, and a left foot only, was found at Facing Island, Gladstone Harbour," Snr Srg Powell said.

"It washed up on the beach about 500m south of an area called the Rockpools. We can tell it is a male foot. Gladstone Harbour is an international port, so it could have been somebody off a visiting foreign ship.

"But we are certainly hopeful that a national database will lead to people being identified."

He said while Queensland had 21 unidentified bodies, other states had many more.

NSW has 194 although they, unlike Queensland, still include the remains of Aboriginal people from pre-European settlement.

One ongoing mystery - the identity of a man whose remains were found at Poona Dam - could soon be solved with a family coming forward nearly a decade after the discovery to make a missing person's report.

The body has had police baffled since its discovery in 2008. Two young boys found the body curled up on the concrete slipway of the Nambour Dam.

The man's wallet, containing no ID, was next to him. It had been left open where a card with a smiley face was on display. It included the words: "Have a nice day."

Police also found an old Plains Video Kingaroy rental card but the video store had closed down and the card did not have a name.

"We are still making inquiries trying to identify him but a person reported missing in September this year may in fact be him," Sen-Sgt Powell said. "The timing fits ... relatives have not seen this person for eight years. We are looking at DNA testing living relatives."

He said there were many reasons why family circles broke down, leading to missing people not being brought to police attention for years.

"Often Christmas is a time when people reach out to us about someone they have lost contact with. We do find more people are reported missing at this time of year after a loss of contact."

In 2007, a man's torso washed up on Warana beach, on the Sunshine Coast.

An infant found in 1985 in Townsville has never been identified.

- The Herald Sun


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