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Douglas Coupland’s ‘prank’ photo of severed leg not linked to Roberts Creek investigation, RCMP say

Sunshine Coast RCMP say an image posted to social media is not connected to their investigation after human remains were discovered in Roberts Creek, B.C.
Sunshine Coast RCMP say an image posted to social media is not connected to their investigation after human remains were discovered in Roberts Creek, B.C. Douglas Coupland/Instagram

Sunshine Coast RCMP said Monday that an image posted to social media showing a severed limb is not linked to their investigation of human remains located on a beach at Roberts Creek, B.C.

Writer and artist Douglas Coupland posted an image to Instagram depicting what appears to be a severed leg that had washed ashore, presumably a reference to a number of disarticulated feet that have been found on B.C. shorelines since August 2007.

Read more: Human remains discovered on beach in Roberts Creek

Coupland posted the photo to Instagram on Saturday. According to the image’s geotag, the photo was shot at Roberts Creek, a small community between Gibsons and Sechelt.

From the archives: Another foot washes ashore
From the archives: Another foot washes ashore

Sunshine Coast RCMP said they have launched an investigation after two teens discovered human remains on the beach below the 800-block of Bayview Road in Roberts Creek early Saturday.

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Read more: Shoes with disembodied feet have been washing up on B.C. shores for nearly a decade (2016)

Police located the remains, which they said were in an advanced state of decomposition.

On Monday, RCMP said “a recent Instagram post depicting fake human remains is not related to the ongoing Sunshine Coast investigation.”

RCMP told Global News the photo featured a movie prop and was intended as a “prank.”

Coupland’s photo drew criticism from some social media users, one of whom said it was in “horrific taste.”

In an email to Global News, Coupland called the incident a “strange coincidence” and said the fake leg came from his 2018 exhibit at the Vancouver Aquarium.

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The writer and artist earned international acclaim for his 1991 novel Generation X. His public art projects include the Terry Fox Memorial outside BC Place and the Digital Orca in Jack Poole Plaza.