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Woman Walks 6 Miles for Help After Appalachian Trail Attack

Suspect accused of killing hiker with machete
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 13, 2019 3:05 AM CDT
Updated May 13, 2019 7:00 AM CDT
James Jordan.   (Washington County Sheriff's Office)

(Newser) – A 30-year-old Massachusetts man is in custody after the first murder on the Appalachian Trail since 2011. Police say the suspect attacked a man and a woman with a machete on a section of trail in Virginia early Saturday, killing the man and severely injuring the woman, WSLS reports. Wythe County Sheriff Keith Dunagan says the woman pretended to be dead, then took off running when the suspect, James Jordan, walked away after his dog, reports the Washington Post. The woman walked six miles before encountering another group of hikers, who called for help. The sheriff says officers found Jordan and the victim with GPS technology after the man managed to trigger an SOS signal on his phone.

Jordan—who went by the name "Sovereign" on the trail—faces federal charges of murder and assault with intent to murder. Appalachian Trail Conservancy spokesman Brian King tells the Daily Beast that Jordan had become "well known" on the trail in recent weeks for threatening hikers. King says Jordan was arrested, fined, and released after an altercation with hikers on the Tennessee/North Carolina border in late April. Authorities say that before Saturday's attack, Jordan threatened a group of four hikers who were camped out. Two fled north and reported the attack to authorities. Jordan initially pursued the two who fled north, then chased and caught up with the two who had fled south, authorities say. (Read more Appalachian Trail stories.)

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