To Survive Appalachian Trail Attack, She Played Dead

Female hiker survives assault as trail community is jolted by rare violence
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 14, 2019 12:15 PM CDT
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This booking photo provided by the Washington County, Virginia, Sheriff’s Office shows James L. Jordan, of West Yarmouth, Mass.   (Washington County, Virginia, Sheriff’s Office)
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(Newser) – This is peak season for spring hikers venturing out on the Appalachian Trail, but a rare slaying has cast a pall over things. James Jordan, 30, of West Yarmouth, Mass., is accused of stabbing to death a male hiker in southwest Virginia and attacking a woman who then played dead to survive. The AP reports that a judge has ordered Jordan to undergo a psychiatric exam as new details emerge about him and the attack itself:

  • Weeks of trouble: The trail community has a vibrant communication system, including blogs and apps, and hikers had been warning about Jordan for weeks, reports the New York Times. He'd reportedly been acting belligerently and making threats as he moved north with his dog through Tennessee and Virginia.
  • The attack: An FBI affidavit say four hikers report Jordan was "acting disturbed and unstable" on the trail Friday evening. When the four set up camp that night, they say he threatened to burn their tents and kill them. And when they decided to leave, two of the campers say Jordan chased them with a machete. They escaped, but he allegedly returned to camp, argued with a male, then stabbed him to death. The remaining woman fled, but the affidavit says Jordan caught up with her and stabbed her even as she put up her hands to surrender.

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