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View Full Version : An unidentified 2017 AT Hiker has died on the Florida Trail



Mugthumper
08-06-2018, 02:51
The hiker known as "Denim", "Mostly Harmless", or just "Harmless" hiked southbound on the AT in 2017. He started in NY and hiked to Springer Mountain, arriving sometime in December, with plans to hike the Pinhoti Trail then hike the Florida Trail to Key West.

Unfortunately, his body was found on the Florida Trail on July 23rd at Nobles Campsite in Big Cypress National Preserve. He did not have any identification on him and the Collier County Sheriff Office is asking for help identifying him. If anyone else has any additional information that could help identify this man, please contact the authorities so that his family can be notified.

Link to the news article.
https://www.naplesnews.com/story/news/local/2018/08/02/collier-county-sheriffs-office-asks-help-id-mans-body-found-big-cypress-national-preserve/890986002/

Additional information can be found on the Collier County Sheriff Office facebook page.

Rockit Mann
08-06-2018, 08:47
Anyone try Odie at The Hiker Yearbook? Seems like this is in wheelhouse - identifying and reconnecting hikers when their hikes are over by cataloging faces, trail names, and real names. Just a thought.

Mugthumper
08-06-2018, 14:42
Anyone try Odie at The Hiker Yearbook? Seems like this is in wheelhouse - identifying and reconnecting hikers when their hikes are over by cataloging faces, trail names, and real names. Just a thought.
This possibility was brought to the attention of the Sheriff's Office in the past 48 hours . However, it unfortunately seems unlikely as there are reports that he was not carrying a phone for the duration of his hike. Another possibility brought to their attention is that he could have stopped into the ATC Headquarters, had his photograph taken and supplied them with personal info.

It appears that he also did not register with the Florida Trail for his hike, as they are also reaching out to the community for any information about him.

I met Denim early in his journey the morning of July 28th In Maryland at Raven Rock Shelter. We conversed for about 20 minutes or so before heading our separate ways. I noted that he was new to backpacking but was very much enjoying the experience. I also estimated that his pack was very heavy at what I guessed was 50-60 lbs.

He started hiking in June in New York, so he would have passed through pretty much the entire bubble between NY and PA. It is likely that hundreds of 2017 NOBOs met him in passing. Hopefully somewhere along the way someone remembers a bit of personal information that will help lead to his identification.

TJ aka Teej
08-06-2018, 15:40
his body was found
They have not officially announced the body is that of the missing hiker.

Mugthumper
08-06-2018, 17:07
You are correct, the official announcement has not been made. I would assume this is because they are still unable to positively identify him. The photos provided are from others posting to the Sheriff's page, which they have left up. However, I should rephrase that, a body matching the description of the AT hiker Denim has been found.

The Sheriff has not made an official announcement but the Florida Trail's page is also linking Denim's photo from Mountain Crossings.

Also in the campsite photographs that are provided by the Collier County Sheriff's Office, you can see that the poles match Denim's gear from the picture at Springer, same as the Salomon hiking boots pictured. He is also wearing a beige shirt that matches the description of the deceased. Combined with the info that Denim was hiking the Florida Trail and the location of the body, combined with the reported height and composite released by the sheriff's office there is a lot of info that matches what is currently known.

Patrickjd9
08-06-2018, 19:37
The Sheriff has not made an official announcement but the Florida Trail's page is also linking Denim's photo from Mountain Crossings.
Also in the campsite photographs that are provided by the Collier County Sheriff's Office, you can see that the poles match Denim's gear from the picture at Springer, same as the Salomon hiking boots pictured. He is also wearing a beige shirt that matches the description of the deceased.

Probably worth checking whether he bought any of it from Mountain Crossings, though I suspect they thought of it.

Time Zone
08-06-2018, 20:49
"He was described as 35 to 50 years old, 5-foot-8 and 83 pounds."

I'm not a doctor, but that sounds like a very unhealthy weight.

MuddyWaters
08-06-2018, 21:50
No id, no credit/debit card, no insurance card.
Starts to sound more like homeless than average hiker.

Not that theres anything wrong with that, just sayin.

saltysack
08-07-2018, 19:43
"He was described as 35 to 50 years old, 5-foot-8 and 83 pounds."

I'm not a doctor, but that sounds like a very unhealthy weight.

No doubt...thought the same....83lbs is a skeleton...RIP


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Mugthumper
08-10-2018, 16:49
The Collier County Sheriff Office posted an update

Deceased hiker CASE UPDATE







We want to thank everyone for their helpful information on the case of the unidentified deceased hiker. Through the work of our dedicated investigators using advanced forensic technologies and with the many leads you have shared, we can tell you the following as an update:
The body of the deceased was discovered on July 23 and we believe he most likely died within a few days prior to being found.
There were no obvious injuries and the death does not appear suspicious from a criminal perspective.
We do believe that the deceased is the same person pictured in the photos here and identified only by his trail names Denim and Mostly Harmless. We do not have his real name.
We have info that the deceased may have ties to New York State and Louisiana and that he may have worked in the tech industry.
We actively participate in database services that match unidentified persons to missing persons. We have entered specific forensic information from the deceased in these programs.
We appreciate and have read all of the advice and theories posted and want you to know that several of our investigators are avid outdoorspersons and are very familiar with trail hiking, equipment, etc. What we need most from the public is info on the name of the hiker known as Denim and Mostly Harmless so that his family can be notified and lay their loved one to rest.
Please continue to share this post and the previous post. Call us at 239.252.9300 if you have info. Thank you and be kind to one another in your posts!



Some additional photos of Denim were also posted recently on the Pinhoti Trail Alliance facebook pages.

434124341343414

gpburdelljr
08-10-2018, 20:28
"He was described as 35 to 50 years old, 5-foot-8 and 83 pounds."

I'm not a doctor, but that sounds like a very unhealthy weight.

If the photos in post 10 are relatively recent (and they may not be), he doesn’t look that thin. Maybe the 83 pounds weight is a misprint. Nobody proofreads much anymore.

gpburdelljr
08-10-2018, 20:28
"He was described as 35 to 50 years old, 5-foot-8 and 83 pounds."

I'm not a doctor, but that sounds like a very unhealthy weight.

If the photos in post 10 are relatively recent (and they may not be), he doesnít look that thin. Maybe the 83 pounds weight is a misprint. Nobody proofreads much anymore.

BuckeyeBill
08-10-2018, 22:12
Probably meant to say 183.

Mugthumper
08-10-2018, 22:23
If the photos in post 10 are relatively recent (and they may not be), he doesn’t look that thin. Maybe the 83 pounds weight is a misprint. Nobody proofreads much anymore.

Unfortunately, it wasn't a typo. The Sheriff's office confirmed that he did indeed weigh 83 lbs. I want to be careful not to make too many assumptions. However, I think it is safe to say that he was at an extreme caloric deficit for quite some time to get to that point. If he acquired an illness with his body in a state of complete exhaustion it could have been absolutely crippling. Without a cellphone it is possible that he was unable to call for help. Then again, at that location on the map it doesn't appear that he was in that remote of a location, but I have not hiked the Florida Trail so I cannot speak from experience.

There are reports from people that have met him from early on the AT all the way to FL. Hopefully someone who met him will see these posts and remember some bit of information that he relayed that will lead to his identification. Such a sad situation.

Here is another picture someone has posted showing him with his pack.


43436

TMathers
08-11-2018, 09:37
I think they have released his trail name but still have no idea what his real name was.

C4web88
08-11-2018, 13:53
That's crazy. Something catastrophic would have had to happen for him to get to that weight without seeking out help. Maybe a snake bite? Can cause muscle wasting/atrophy. Hope they find his family or friends and figure out what happened....very sad situation.

Nodust
08-13-2018, 18:59
I wonder what ties they think he has with Louisiana. Iím in Louisiana and shared his pic on Facebook but a little more info would help.


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DuneElliot
08-13-2018, 19:02
That's crazy. Something catastrophic would have had to happen for him to get to that weight without seeking out help. Maybe a snake bite? Can cause muscle wasting/atrophy. Hope they find his family or friends and figure out what happened....very sad situation.

I agree. And at 5'5" and 110# as a female I'm on the low end of what's barely acceptable for BMI. 83# for a male...that's starvation

hitrailer
08-16-2018, 18:50
Hitrailer here - There is another thread concerning Denim/Mostly Harmless that contains more info about him and his contacts on the AT and FT. I have started inquiring with other hikers but have not found any identifying info yet. However, considering the number of hikers who have come forward about meeting him, I think it will be possible to find out who he is. He left good impressions with hikers on the trail. He was friendly and hiked with people he met. I hope by crowd sourcing with hikers he can be identified. I know there must be friends and family out there who would want to know what happened to him. Go to: https://www.reddit.com/r/AppalachianTrail/comments/94vdbf/help_identify_this_at_hiker_found_deceased_on/?utm_content=full_comments&utm_medium=message&utm_source=reddit&utm_name=frontpage

BlackCloud
08-17-2018, 08:57
So a few points of interest:
1. Why would the police mention he had perfect teeth & weighed 83 lbs but not release the cause of death? I understand that teeth are a good gauge of an individual's (or animal's) overall health.
2. I've never entered or opened someone else's tent w/o permission. Aside from a smell, I can imagine ever doing so.

Thoughts?

hitrailer
08-17-2018, 12:02
1. If he weighed only 83 lbs. (incredible!), cause of death could be malnourishment.
2. I read a newspaper account of an interview of the two hikers who found him. I will find it and post the link.
My questions:
1. Where was his backpack? Only items found were hiking boots, tent, hiking poles and platypus. No food. Area was reported clean by the hikers.
2. Why did he lose so much weight?
3. I know it was mid-July (hot, humid, mosquitos), but why did nobody notice his famished condition? Where was he living? He was only 5 miles from an I-75 rest stop.

hitrailer
08-17-2018, 12:24
Here's the link to the Naples News article interviewing the hikers who discovered him:

https://www.naplesnews.com/story/news/local/2018/08/02/collier-county-sheriffs-office-asks-help-id-mans-body-found-big-cypress-national-preserve/890986002/

BlackCloud
08-22-2018, 08:40
Never seen an article describe the name brands of a person's equipment....

Time Zone
08-22-2018, 09:00
Never seen an article describe the name brands of a person's equipment....

I'm not sure I have either, but I suspect they feel that it could help identify the person. Hikers generally talk gear a lot, and any family members and friends may recognize the gear choices.

What strikes me is that composite image that the Sheriff's office put out. It's a bit unsettling - I have a sense of what parts they photoshopped but I feel I shouldn't say more out of respect. Anyway, unsettling or not, I hope it helps in solving the mystery.

Mother Natures Son
08-22-2018, 19:19
RIP. So sad to hear another hiker has passed. I remember all too well when I summit Mt. Washington. There was a sign that stated all the persons that died on the mountain. Be careful out there folks!

Bati
08-22-2018, 20:38
So a few points of interest:
1. Why would the police mention he had perfect teeth & weighed 83 lbs but not release the cause of death? I understand that teeth are a good gauge of an individual's (or animal's) overall health.
2. I've never entered or opened someone else's tent w/o permission. Aside from a smell, I can imagine ever doing so.

Thoughts?
Perhaps something like lathyrism from eating wild plants, such as was suspected with Chris McCandless. This could lead to massive weight loss and paralysis.

As for opening someone else's tent, I have once. A few days after a massive snowstorm we walked into a tent city and saw no footprints but ours; heard no response to our voices. I had no choice but to brace myself and check the first tent, which thankfully was empty. The next one was a bit easier to check, and eventually after finding no one, just sleeping bags and other stuff, we left a note (signed "Northbounders" ) and left with our footprints leading North out of the campsite. I heard later that it was a bunch of boy scouts who had been helicoptered out.

But in this case, since there's no pack, assume that someone did come by and take the pack that was sitting outside without looking in the tent (or without reporting it). Then you have the situation later where the tent is fine, but there's no pack.

TexasBob
08-22-2018, 20:55
So a few points of interest:
1. Why would the police mention he had perfect teeth & weighed 83 lbs but not release the cause of death? I understand that teeth are a good gauge of an individual's (or animal's) overall health.
2. I've never entered or opened someone else's tent w/o permission. Aside from a smell, I can imagine ever doing so.

Thoughts?

The people who found him didn't open the tent. quote " I looked through the mesh......."

Alligator
08-23-2018, 00:38
So a few points of interest:
1. Why would the police mention he had perfect teeth & weighed 83 lbs but not release the cause of death? I understand that teeth are a good gauge of an individual's (or animal's) overall health.
2. I've never entered or opened someone else's tent w/o permission. Aside from a smell, I can imagine ever doing so.

Thoughts?They might be waiting on the autopsy report. Sometimes they take a couple of weeks.

TNhiker
08-23-2018, 00:43
They might be waiting on the autopsy report. Sometimes they take a couple of weeks.



and longer with toxicology tests sometimes........

chknfngrs
08-23-2018, 08:11
Anyone search Trailjournals?!

MuddyWaters
08-23-2018, 08:36
and longer with toxicology tests sometimes........

Tissue samples from organs can take months

BlackCloud
08-23-2018, 16:25
I'm not sure I have either, but I suspect they feel that it could help identify the person. Hikers generally talk gear a lot, and any family members and friends may recognize the gear choices.


I suspect you are correct.

RuthN
08-26-2018, 11:59
https://www.winknews.com/2018/08/23/collier-deputies-release-video-of-hiker-prior-to-death/

martinb
08-26-2018, 14:03
I've been following this and wish there were more information. I'm guessing they found a pack? What was in it? They found him at 83 lbs but if he had been deceased for a few days, that would be expected. Getting lost is also a very real possibility. Wasn't long ago that a couple of hikers got lost on the FT not too far from here.

RuthN
08-26-2018, 14:22
I've been following this and wish there were more information. I'm guessing they found a pack? What was in it? They found him at 83 lbs but if he had been deceased for a few days, that would be expected. Getting lost is also a very real possibility. Wasn't long ago that a couple of hikers got lost on the FT not too far from here.

His backpack wasn't found with him.

I'm really amazed that with the number of people who talked with him on the AT (and elsewhere), plus the fact that he registered to stay in hostels (using a pseudonym, but still), they don't know his identity.

Btw, the full video is here (https://www.facebook.com/colliersheriff/videos/245369582985667/?q=collier%20county%20sheriff%27s%20office).

Roll Tide
09-12-2018, 17:33
Does anyone know if he has been identified yet? Have not read anything on him for past month.

imscotty
02-26-2019, 22:34
Here is an excellent three-part podcast on the 'Mostly Harmless' mystery...

https://soundcloud.com/ccso-media-relations/sworn-statement-episode-1

https://soundcloud.com/ccso-media-relations/sworn-statement-episode-2

https://soundcloud.com/ccso-media-relations/sworn-statement-episode-3

Please share this story.

Southeast
02-26-2019, 22:53
iTunes link

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/sworn-statement/id1452253238?mt=2&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Or search for Sworn Statement.

stephanD
02-27-2019, 10:05
If he passed through SNP and GSMNP, he may have put his real name on the permits.

stephanD
02-27-2019, 10:14
Not making any assumptions, but it is incongruent for someone who may have died of starvation to have teeth in "excellent" condition, as it is said in the sheriff's report.

imscotty
02-27-2019, 15:03
In the Podcast I think they mentioned that it appeared that he never had, or needed any dental work done. Not a cavity in his life? I'll take that.

Southeast
02-27-2019, 17:17
In the Podcast I think they mentioned that it appeared that he never had, or needed any dental work done. Not a cavity in his life? I'll take that.

Thanks for the link. It was an easy listen.
Hope somebody is able to identify this person. And kudos to them for using the podcast to help with that.