A human foot discovered on a Vancouver Island beach over the weekend appears to have detached naturally from the body, according to the BC Coroners Service.

Preliminary examination suggests the foot disarticulated because of prolonged immersion in water, authorities said Wednesday, three days after the remains were found by a family hiking south of Port Renfrew at Botanical Beach.

Charlotte Stephens said her husband was walking on piles of driftwood Sunday when he found a running shoe containing a sock and what appeared to be bones.

“All you could see is about three inches of white material, and we were trying to determine if it was actual human bone or just something else placed inside,” Stephens said.

“It definitely looked like it but we weren’t going to take anything out of the shoe to find out.”

The grim discovery marked the 13th human foot found along the shores of B.C. and Washington since 2007. Of the first 12, 10 have been identified as belonging to seven individuals, and foul play is not suspected in any of those cases.

“Either accidental or unfortunate suicide deaths, all of them,” said Barb McClintock, spokesperson for the BC Coroners Service.

Coroners expect the latest mystery foot will have a similar explanation.

Few details have been confirmed about Sunday’s discovery, but authorities said the shoe was first sold in North America in March 2013, suggesting the owner died sometime between then and December 2015.

Coroners said they will be conducting further DNA analysis and collaborating with the RCMP's Missing Person Unit in an attempt to identify the deceased.

With a report from CTV Vancouver’s Penny Daflos