Coroner identifies mystery foot as belonging to Darla Kustra
By Patrick O'Donnell, The Plain Dealer
April 14, 2010, 2:59PM
ELYRIA, Ohio -- The severed foot found on an abandoned railroad trestle belonged to Darla Kustra, 56, a divorced mother of four who lived less than two miles away.
But investigators cannot say definitively what happened to Kustra, only offering several theories about what may have occurred.
The leading theory is that she was walking to work at a local plastics company along Ohio Route 57 the morning of March 26 and was struck by a southbound vehicle. But sheriff's investigators and the Lorain County Coroner acknowledge that it is very unusual for a pedestrian to be hit by a car and to not find a body, significant blood or clothing.
The trestle where the foot was found was 16 feet above the roadway and would have needed to be thrown high in the air for it to end up there.
"It was very bizarre that the foot was located there but there was no other evidence," Lorain County Sheriff's Captain John Reiber said.
Investigators did find some traces of blood on the northern face of the trestle structure but found no other body parts or even the shoe to the foot, which was found wearing a sock.
Kustra's coworkers reported her missing and investigators then contacted her four daughters to obtain a DNA sample from one to make the identification. Though the family can claim the foot, the Lorain County Coroner has not issued a death certificate because there is no body.
Coroner Paul Matus said he assumes that Kustra died because people cannot suffer those kinds of injuries and survive without immediate medical treatment.
Investigators have speculated that the body may have become lodged beneath a truck or other vehicle that struck her and either remains there or fell off away from the site. They have issued a national police alert for any body that turns up.
The foot was found by four youths on March 29.
Kustra was last seen in security footage leaving her apartment building in Lorain at 4 a.m. Friday, March 26.