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The Odd Truth: July 27, 2005

The Odd Truth is a collection of strange but factual news stories from around the world compiled by's Meredith Stoffel.

Amputated Foot Returned

LAWRENCE, Kan. - Ezekiel Rubottom now has his left foot back exactly where he wants it — in a bucket on the front porch. Police in Kansas have returned the amputated foot to him after seizing it during the weekend to check out just how it got there.

The 21-year-old man's foot was amputated three weeks ago after a series of medical problems, and he started keeping it in a five-gallon bucket filled with formaldehyde.

It came to the attention of police after a call from a parent whose child reported seeing the severed foot. Officers who went to the home late Saturday night found the foot, and some of Rubottom's friends, but no sign of Rubottom himself.

Unsure of what to make of the unusual discovery, police confiscated the severed foot and put it into evidence storage.

"We had to make sure that no crime had been committed," Sgt. Dan Ward said.

Rubottom, an artist, recovering methamphetamine addict and occasional hip-hop master of ceremonies, said he was born with a clubbed foot and has dealt all his life with pressure sores and infections. An infection this summer became so severe that doctors at Lawrence Memorial Hospital decided it should be amputated.

Rubottom asked to have the severed foot. A pathologist at the hospital checked to make sure it wouldn't be a hazard and told him he could have it, provided he kept it in a container labeled with instructions for handling the formaldehyde.

Karen Shumate, a vice president at the hospital, said people can keep parts removed from their bodies if they want them.

After a friend picked up the bucket at a hardware store, Rubottom added several objects as well as the severed foot — including a porcelain horse and can of beer — to make what he called "a collage of myself." He also cut off two of the toes, saying he was considering giving them to friends.

On Monday, police returned the foot to Rubottom after taking him to the hospital, where he signed a release allowing them to see his medical records.

"It's cool. It's all good," said Rubottom. "Now I've got my foot back. That's all I wanted.

"I'm not sick or, like, a danger," he said of his decision to keep and display the foot. "I just wanted my foot ... I just figured I'd do with it whatever I pleased."

Nude Calendar Raises Money

TILDEN, Neb. - Jerry Fields wades almost knee-high in a creek by his farm, carrying a strategically placed bag of duck decoys.

Real estate agent Larry Bartee is partially hidden by a "sold" sign as he stands in waist-high grass with the scenic Elkhorn Valley in the background.
Both appear in the 2006 "Men of Tilden" calendar, which hit the streets Monday. It's often called the "naked men" calendar, although none of the 18 men featured are actually naked.

The calendar is a fundraiser for the 21-bed Tilden Community Hospital and Medical Clinic, which is owned by the city of about 2,000 residents. Tilden native Raymond Whitwer, 84, and his wife, Marjorie, of San Diego, challenged the community in February to raise $100,000 and promised a matching donation.

Tilden passed the goal, so the calendar profits will go toward another hospital fund drive.

Whitwer agreed to pose for the calendar as well. He's shown reading a newspaper in the public library that bears his name. The Raymond A. Whitwer Tilden Public Library opened in 2001 thanks to a gift from Whitwer, who spent 52 years working as a general contractor and owner of Whitwer Construction Co. in San Diego.

Man Robs Coffee Shop In Presence Of FBI Agent

TOLEDO, Ohio — With an FBI office a few floors above him and the agent in charge waiting in line, Andrew Johnson picked the wrong coffee shop to rob.

The 34-year-old went behind the counter and grabbed $165 from a cash drawer, authorities said. Carl Spicocchi, head of the FBI's Toledo office, thought Johnson was an employee until the store manager confronted him.

Johnson then jumped over the counter and threw the store manager into a juice machine, police said.

The manager, Spicocchi and two others tried to get Johnson on the ground. Spicocchi said he called 911, and other FBI agents in the building came down and handcuffed Johnson.

Police charged Johnson, of Toledo, with robbery and felony vandalism. Authorities said he later kicked out the back window of a police car.

Amish Teen Charged With Stealing House Numbers

HUNTSBURG, Ohio - Callers complaining about loud music coming from a buggy led deputies to charge a 19-year-old Amish man with stealing house numbers and flower pots. David Byler was charged with theft and underage consumption of alcohol, both misdemeanors.

Callers to the Geauga County sheriff's office told dispatchers early Sunday about a buggy playing loud music and stealing items from outside houses in a rural area of northeast Ohio.

"When our officer caught up with him in the middle of the road, there were flower pots and house numbers in the buggy," sheriff's spokesman John Hiscox said.

Drunk Pushing

PORTAGE, Ind. - Drunk driving can also be drunk pushing. At least to police in Portage, Indiana. Kaylyn Kezy and Melissa Fredenburg both face DUI charges after the car they were pushing crashed into a parked car. Police say the women took turns pushing the non-running car while the other steered. After the accident, officers say both women tested with a blood-alcohol level more than twice the legal limit. Prosecutor Adam Burroughs admits the case might be a tough one to prove in court. But he notes the women were in effect operating the vehicle -- even though the car wasn't running at the time.

Naked Man Looks For Gump's House

LITTLEVILLE, Ala. - Life is like a box of chocolates -- even if you're standing naked in the middle of a corn field. Police in Littleville, Alabama, report they busted a guy who said he looking for the house were "Forrest Gump" lived. Officers say they found the man standing as naked as the day he was born. According to authorities, the naked guy was munching on raw corn. Police haven't released the name of the suspect. Littleville Police Chief William Nale says the man is a drifter who was following railroad lines, looking for Forrest Gump's house. The man is charged with indecent exposure and will undergo a mental exam.

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