Ruggieri said clothing and other items at the scene indicate the person was a woman. Other clues indicate something nefarious happened.
“That’s just my gut. That’s my team’s gut,” Ruggieri said.
Saturday afternoon, hikers noticed the shoe while walking through Catoctin Mountain Park, which is part of the National Park Service near Camp David. They called park officials, Ruggieri said.
The FBI’s Evidence Response Team, along with agents from the Baltimore field office, were called to the scene. They found the skeletal remains about 60 yards from the shoe while working the area into Sunday morning, Ruggieri said.
The remains were bare of any tissue. They were mostly intact, other than a missing hand and missing foot — the one that was not found in the shoe, authorities said.
“One of the hands we cannot account for, along with one of the feet,” Ruggieri said.
Found atop the skeleton, officials said, was a black track suit.
The remains could have been in the woods anywhere from one to six months, Ruggieri said. But given the lightweight fabric of the suit, it probably was relatively warm outside when it was worn, and Ruggieri estimates the remains had been in the woods closer to two months.
Found near the body was a Puma handbag. The purse contained a set of keys that had an El Salvador keychain, a blue turtle, a pendant spelling out the word “Love” and what appears to be a glitter-covered canister of protective spray. The person had long, dark hair with braids, officials said.
Forensic doctors at the Maryland Office of the Chief Medical Examiner are analyzing the remains. Among the questions they will try to answer is whether there are signs of trauma, including at the ankle and wrist areas.
Ruggieri said agents remain open-minded as to what happened to the person, including a suicide or some kind of medical event. The dismembered foot could have been the result of animal activity, according to the agent.
“Everything is on the table,” Ruggieri said.
He said his suspicions of a nefarious ending are tied to the lack of an abandoned car found in the area, as well as no reports of missing hikers or missing people in the area that lined up with the body.
The FBI said that anyone with information can call 800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov.