One hiker shared this snap of Mostly Harmless … He and Buehler backed away, and Horton called 911. [8], Rodriguez was identified in December 2020, over two years following his discovery. He would tell us stories, but they were never personal stories.". Collier County Sheriff’s Office asks that no one reaches out to family or speculates on his name. Described as 35 to 50 years old, 5-foot-8 with a black and gray beard and hair, he used the alias “Ben Bilemy” to register at several hostels during his hike from New York to Florida. IT'S OUR TOP STORY. The District 20 Medical Examiner’s Office reported the man’s cause and manner of death as undetermined. A picture of his face didn't turn up anything in a facial recognition database. The internet steps in to solve this mystery and despite finding dozens fellow hikers who's lives had been touched by the man who went by the trail-name "Mostly Harmless… Top Stories - Even after identification, mystery cloaks deceased hiker known as ‘Mostly Harmless’ A woman who, according to property records, shared the Brooklyn apartment with Rodriguez declined to comment for this story. Identity of Deceased Hiker Uncovered. Last week, he was identified as 44-year old Vance Rodriguez when friends of his stumbled … Top Stories - Even after identification, mystery cloaks deceased hiker known as ‘Mostly Harmless’ His body, weighing just 83 pounds, was found at Nobles Campground by two hikers on July 23, 2018. 1 Case 1.1 Recent developments 2 Characteristics 3 Clothing 4 Accessories 5 Gallery 6 Exclusions 7 Sources On July 23, 2018, hikers stopped on the Florida Trail at a picnic … He told her he wasn’t carrying a phone and was using a paper map of Florida to navigate the trail, Fairbanks said. Copy to Clipboard. Detectives couldn’t find anyone Rodriguez shared his plans or end goals with before he left Brooklyn, Hurm said. It is described on the cover of the first editions as "The fifth book in the increasingly inaccurately named Hitchhikers Trilogy". “We are still guessing. By the summer of 2017, 'Mostly Harmless' has made it to Virginia, where he walked more than 100 miles with a female hiker. January 13, 2021, 4:31 PM. (The Advertiser)- A hiker who was found dead in a tent in Florida was identified two years later as a New York man who was originally from Lafayette. [2] It is not immediately clear if he had been fingerprinted after that arrest and, if so, why he was unable to be matched with those fingerprints during the two years that he remained unidentified. Here is a link to my latest update with more background information. It is worth noting that Rodriguez had been arrested for shoplifting in Lafayette Parish, back in August 1994. This is further corroborated by his love of Doctor Who, which he shared with another hiker. Investigators determined the DNA was a match on Jan 8. It’s placed along the tree line and features a small cross made of sticks and an orange rope. The deputies finished speaking with Horton and Buehler sometime after midnight then drove the men to their car. The hiker had no obvious injuries. She knew the man was Rodriguez as soon as she saw a photo of him taken before he grew out his beard on the trail. [7], He was last observed alive, after his arrival in the southwestern region of Florida, in April 2018. He and Buehler hiked back to Nobles Campsite together. Later, Rodriguez left his job at Shoppers Choice, moved to Brooklyn, New York, and lived in an apartment with a woman, Hurm said. Reality hit them pretty hard.”. Others say the trail name was descriptive: Someone said he was “mostly harmless,” and it stuck. “It was kind of a damp area. “As soon as we discovered the body, I called 911 within seconds,” Horton said. > The unsettling truth about the ‘Mostly Harmless’ hiker. The mystery of the hiker known only by his trail name, "Mostly Harmless," has finally been solved - and he's connected to Lafayette. According to Godso, Rodriguez didn’t graduate. The trail sits next to a canal with alligators, snakes, frogs and other wildlife. “This just goes to show that regardless of how little information you have, it's never impossible.”. This is the "unsettling truth", the last paragraph, we all been so Twitter'ed everyone needs to look for more - > Yet it’s hard not to look at this story with anything but sadness. BROOKLYN, NEW YORK – Florida police followed every possible lead to try and identify "Mostly Harmless," a mysterious trail hiker who died of starvation with about $3,600 in cash in his kit. “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 … It was mid-April 2018, and the hikers were a few miles north of the campsite where Rodriguez’s body would be found. According to Godso, Rodriguez didn’t graduate. She met Rodriguez while he was in the area in January 2018. “They were holding out hope that it wasn't their son. More:Deceased hiker 'Mostly Harmless' has been identified after two years. A very good idea! Mostly Harmless told one hiker in Pennsylvania he went to the woods because he was 'depressed with his life and needed a complete change.' But people with computer skills usually don’t have a hard time finding a job. [6], The hiker started his journey on the Appalachian Trail in April 2017, from Harriman State Park near New York City. Investigators thought he had ties to Louisiana and might have worked in the technology industry. Generally Harmless had also advised at least one particular hiker he was from Baton Rouge. Rodriguez’s body was held by the District 20 Medical Examiner’s Office in East Naples until he was identified. Amelia Spires, a South Georgia woman, was part of one of those groups. “He was a real friendly guy,” Gormley said. 'Mostly Harmless' Identified as Vance Rodriguez . “After we found him, I expected to see stories with information on who he was.”. His body … Rodriguez was born in 1976 and was an IT worker in New York with roots in Louisiana. Detectives even … IN APRIL 2017, a man started hiking in a state park just north of New York City. “He kept to himself a lot whenever we did kind of hang out. “I most definitely remember finding the body. “They stopped in to talk to us and see if there was any additional information we had.”. Mostly Harmless was first seen in the woods in the spring of 2017 near New York’s Harriman State Park and he continued southbound down Appalachian Trail, … So much of the backstory in the case can only be explained by one person ⁠— Rodriguez. A Nameless Hiker and the Case the Internet Can’t Crack The man on the trail went by “Mostly Harmless." “They would send him text messages or emails on holidays, birthdays and significant days, and they all went unanswered,” Hurm said. [9] The location was near Interstate 75. I remember it even more because of how long it took to identify him,” Horton said. Title. It was the last Hitchhiker's book written by Adams and his final book released in his lifetime. [6] An official announcement from the Collier County Sheriff's Office was released on January 12, 2021. He was estimated to be 5’8, weighing about 83 pounds. His supposed interest in science fiction led many to guess the trail name Mostly Harmless is a reference to the title of the final book in Douglas Adams’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series. [8], On July 23, 2018, the hiker was found dead in his tent by two hikers in Big Cypress National Preserve. The Unsettling Truth About the ‘Mostly Harmless’ Hiker. DNA samples from the family were sent from Louisiana to Collier County and eventually to Othram Inc., a laboratory in Texas. 'Mostly Harmless' is identified: After more than two years, the hiker is identified as Vance Rodriguez. Horton realized the man inside the tent was dead. A hiker known as "Mostly Harmless" whose body was found in the Florida Everglades in 2018 has been identified as a Lafayette man whose family still lives in the area. January 12, 2021 Pathways Leave a comment. He went by the trail names "Denim" and "Mostly Harmless." “The whole time I was thinking I just needed one more clue to find out who he was.”. It was July 23, 2018, around 8 p.m. “I remember thinking what an undesirable spot to be camping in,” Horton said. He also used the names "Denim" and "Ben Bilemy." He still wonders about parts of Rodriguez’s story and how the man died. COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. — After more than two years, the identity of the deceased hiker who went by the trail name Mostly Harmless is finally known. He was known by the trail names “Denim” and “Mostly Harmless”. Mostly Harmless appears to have died of natural causes, according to investigators. DNA research has indicated that the decedent was likely of Cajun ancestry. In 2018, the body of a hiker was found at the Big Cypress National Preserve. The amateur hiker was popularly known as 'Mostly Harmless' but also went by the names Denim and Ben Bilemy By Akshay Pai Published on : 06:13 PST, Jul 20, 2020. The sheriff’s office needed to find a family member of Rodriguez and then run a comparison DNA test to be certain that he was the unidentified hiker. He contacted law enforcement and tried as much as he could to help identify Rodriguez. His DNA didn't match any in the Department of Justice's missing person database or in CODIS, the national DNA database run by the FBI. Hiker found dead went by 'Denim' and 'Mostly Harmless' on the trail, but investigators don't know his real name . He went by the trail names “Denim” and “Mostly Harmless.” Upon the discovery, the body weighed a startling 83 pounds. To their horror investigators realize that the man has died from starvation despite having food and money, he also carries no ID or phone. Previous coverage: CCSO shares alias of hiker who died in Big Cypress National Preserve, More: ID of man found dead in Big Cypress Preserve still unclear after hikers send photos, tips, “He told me he started in New York and he was headed to Key West, and I thought he must be doing okay because he made it this far,” Fairbanks said. As the case moved forward, Horton received friend requests on Facebook from people interested in the hiker’s identity and he’d discuss it with them. Rodriguez was living in Lafayette Parish when he emancipated with the consent of his parents at 17, according to court records. The mystery of the hiker known only by his trail name, "Mostly Harmless," has finally been solved - and he's connected to Lafayette. “Absolutely they did,” Hurm said. This is the "unsettling truth", the last paragraph, we all been so Twitter'ed everyone needs to look for more - > Yet it’s hard not to look at this story with anything but sadness. Othram had confirmed the match between Rodriguez and his family by performing the required testing. We were just curious to look at it again and remember it all together.". Dowden can’t remember exactly how long she worked with Rodriguez, but it … Copy to Clipboard. Sometimes when thru hikers meet, they take photos together to remember their hiking days. In this true crime documentary, we're covering the solved mystery of Mostly Harmless, a mysterious hiker who remained unidentified for nearly two years. They came across Rodriguez’s yellow tent near the picnic table and saw his hiking boots and poles outside. “It could have been circumstances adding up to the point where Vance was overwhelmed. He was a junior in high school, already living away from home and was no longer under the supervision of his parents when a judge approved the emancipation, according to court records. He went by the trail names “Denim” and “Mostly Harmless.”. Rodriguez gladly spoke with him, Gormley said. Generally Harmless had also advised at least one particular hiker he was from Baton Rouge. Detectives even have clear photos of him along the way. ‘Mostly Harmless,’ hiker found dead in Florida, identified two years later, from Lafayette Local. After years of investigation by authorities and amateur online sleuths, the identity of the deceased Appalachian Trail hiker known by the trail name “Mostly Harmless” has been uncovered. Although Rodriguez emancipated from his family and had not spoken to them in years, Hurm said it was obvious that his parents still cared for him. It was the last Hitchhiker's book written by Adams and his final book released in his lifetime. [5] He was identified when a previous coworker recognized photos of him in December 2020, with his identity being released in January 2021. “Like in those creepy movies where you go in there and there's still hot food in the bowl, but nobody is around,” Hurm said. Mostly Harmless was 1st viewed in the woods in the spring of 2017 around New York’s Harriman State Park and he continued southbound down Appalachian Path, Pinhoti and Florida trails. 13 hours ago. The Vance Rodriguez she knew would not have wanted all the attention this case brought him, Dowden said. I hadn't seen him in a while, but his face was still kind of stuck with me.”, Previous coverage: Deceased hiker, known as 'Mostly Harmless,' identified after more than two years, More: Deceased hiker 'Mostly Harmless' has been identified after two years. Hiker found dead went by 'Denim' and 'Mostly Harmless' on the trail, but investigators don't know his real name . Jan 13, 2021 #1 Here's a timeline of the case. www.dailymail.co.uk Reactions: Sugar Cookie, myra manes, Fives My Charm and 2 others. The Unsettling Truth About the ‘Mostly Harmless’ Hiker Discussion in ' True Crime: Murdered and Missing ' started by SHINeer , Jan 13, 2021 . The Unsettling Truth About the ‘Mostly Harmless’ Hiker Discussion in ' True Crime: Murdered and Missing ' started by SHINeer , Jan 13, 2021 . Witnesses reported that he preferred ketchup and sticky buns, and that he had said he came from Baton Rouge, was hiking to Key West, and had a sister living in Sarasota or Saratoga. “Mostly Harmless” has been formally identified as Vance Rodriguez. On a cool winter day, it takes a healthy hiker about 90 minutes to hike from Nobles Campsite to the interstate rest area. “It was hard for people to believe that someone can go unidentified, especially in this digital age. He went by the trail names “Denim” and “Mostly Harmless.” The woman - who has shared her story with police - … He appeared to have died of natural causes not long before he was found, investigators announced. [6], The autopsy could not determine the specific cause of death, although he was described as being "emaciated. Horton went to look for the water that was advertised on the campsite sign, but before he got too far, his friend told him to come back. It was based in Baton Rouge, and Rodriguez was the company’s IT department. Mostly Harmless Hiker DNA 01/13/2021. It includes just one wooden picnic table and a fire pit in the center that sits on the dirt. Vance Rodriguez was found by two hikers on July 23, 2018, inside a tent deep within Big Cypress National Preserve. (The Advertiser)- A hiker who was found dead in a tent in Florida was identified two years later as a New York man who was originally from Lafayette. “Ben Bilemy” is the alias used by a southbound Appalachian Trail through hiker in 2017. Here's a timeline of the case. By Brett Clarkson. His DNA, dental information, and fingerprints did not match known missing person reports in any database. Investigators do … Mostly Harmless was 1st viewed in the woods in the spring of 2017 around New York’s Harriman State Park and he continued southbound down Appalachian Path, Pinhoti and Florida trails. Once Gormley heard about the deceased hiker and realized he met him, it was shocking. It was kind of like if you were in a sauna.”. It was the evening of Dec. 11 and she called the sheriff’s office immediately. Gormley took two photos with Rodriguez, but he never learned the man’s real name. “Mostly Harmless,” a hiker found in the Big Cypress National Preserve has been identified after two years of speculation about who the man could be. Posted: Jan 14, 2021 / … UPDATE: Friends of unidentified hiker Mostly Harmless/Denim/Ben Bilemy have come forward and DNA is being tested to confirm his identity. Mostly Harmless' fingerprints didn't show up in any law enforcement database. By Brett Clarkson. It was already dark when the first law enforcement officers arrived at the campsite. [5][6], Using information from witnesses' interviews, investigators developed a timeline of his activities. BROOKLYN, NEW YORK – Florida police followed every possible lead to try and identify "Mostly Harmless," a mysterious trail hiker who died of starvation with about $3,600 in cash in his kit. Fairbanks and Rodriguez spoke for about 20 minutes, then he was on his way and was in good spirits, Fairbanks said. Vance John "Vaejor" Rodriguez,[3] previously known as "Mostly Harmless", Denim, and Ben Bilemy[4] was an American hiker whose body was found on July 23, 2018 in Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida, then remained unidentified for two years. I feel that the thing I think of most in his story is that he dared do something different, get away from his everyday life and meet people on a level he chose and just exist with the things he carried with him. The Unsettling Truth About the ‘Mostly Harmless’ Hiker. At the time of death, he was presumed to be between the ages of 35-50 years old, with gray hair and beard, blue eyes, and teeth in excellent condition. Rodriguez was conversational and wore a big smile when Fairbanks approached him. [8] He was last known to reside in New York and worked in the field of information technology.[6]. Hikers found his body inside a tent in The Everglades, east of Naples, in July 2018. Here's a timeline of the case. Rodriguez was taking a nap near the road in the shade, and Gormley woke him up. Dowden can’t remember exactly how long she worked with Rodriguez, but it was for several years, she said. Rodriguez’s identity has already circulated through the world of amateur web sleuths. Vance Rodriguez was found by two hikers on July 23, 2018, inside a tent deep within Big Cypress National Preserve. Rodriguez’s body was found at Nobles Campsite, which is about 5 miles north of Interstate 75 within Big Cypress National Preserve. 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