Hunter of Into the Wild Fame Killed by Police

Gordon Samel found body of Christopher McCandless in 1992

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 13, 2014 5:19 PM CDT | Updated Mar 13, 2014 7:00 PM CDT

(Newser) – One last chapter of Alaska's Into the Wild saga has ended in the death of moose hunter Gordon Samel, reports the Anchorage Daily News. The 52-year-old Samel, who found the body of Christopher McCandless in 1992, was shot to death by police Sunday after a chase when authorities say he aimed his pickup at an officer approaching on foot. Samel, under court restrictions following a DUI arrest in September, was suspected of being drunk behind the wheel again, though his mother tells the paper he might have been off his medication for bipolar disorder.

Samel entered Alaskan lore when he found the body of McCandless inside a sleeping bag in an abandoned bus near Denali National Park, recounts Outside. McCandless' story would later become the basis for the best-selling book by Jon Krakauer. In Krakauer's telling, Samel had to work up the nerve to enter the bus because of the stench from inside and an SOS note. Samel's brother tells ADN that Samel was proud of his role in the famous tale, "but it wasn't a turning point for him or anything." (In other Into the Wild news, Krakauer in September revealed what he really thinks killed McCandless.)

The abandoned bus where Christopher McCandless was found in 1992.
The abandoned bus where Christopher McCandless was found in 1992.   (AP Photo/ Jillian Rogers)
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