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Human foot on Florida beach identified as mystery deepens

By Barbara Liston

ORLANDO (Reuters) - The human foot found on a southeast Florida beach on New Year's Day has been matched by investigators using DNA to a missing local boater, who media reports say lost a brother in similar circumstances.

Dominic Porcaro, 64, had been missing since December 19, when his boat washed ashore in Juno Beach in Palm Beach County. The foot - inside a tube sock and midsize white New Balance athletic shoe - was found 13 days later by a beach walker about 20 miles north.

DNA profiling confirms that the appendage belonged to Porcaro, a resident of Jupiter, said Amanda Phillips, a spokeswoman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The day before he went missing, Porcaro was released from the Palm Beach County Jail, where he had been booked on a drunk driving charge, according to media reports.

Dominic's younger brother, John Anthony Porcaro, disappeared from his Hollywood, Florida, home in June 1998, after going fishing, according to the Palm Beach Post.

John Anthony Porcaro was an alleged associate of the Gambino crime family in New York, according to an FBI "Wanted" notice, and was indicted by a federal grand jury in 2003 for involvement in a South Florida telemarketing scheme in which more than 400 people were defrauded of more than $5 million.

According to media reports at the time, he left a note for his wife, Filamena, saying: "Fil, went fishing, got call, swordfish are biting. Love, J. I'll call you later."

John Anthony Porcaro has not been seen since, and no body has been found.

An autopsy on the severed foot belonging to Dominic Porcaro concluded that it likely separated naturally from the decomposing body in the water, either by the force of waves or by a large fish or shark shaking the remains, according to Martin County Sheriff William Snyder.

But the cause of death remains under investigation, Phillips said.

"We're not calling it because it's not enough information to go on," he said.

Porcaro's 26-foot boat had run aground near the Jupiter Inlet with damage to the bow, but no blood or personal items were found on board, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

(Editing by David Adams and Gunna Dickson)

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