Powerful image shows the feet of three hikers that survived brutal Appalachian Trail attack

Local News

WYTHE COUNTY, Va. (WJHL) – It’s a photo that’s been shared hundreds of times. It’s a photo showing the feet of the three people who survived a deadly attack on the Appalachian Trail in Southwest Virginia.

The image posted by a Facebook group called ‘The Hiker Yearbook’ described the photo as an image of the feet of ‘the 3 survivors.’ 

That deadly attack on the AT claimed the life of 43-year-old Ronald S. Sanchez, Jr. of Oklahoma.  

STORY HERE: FBI identifies man killed on Appalachian Trail in Southwest Virginia

MORE: Smokies park rangers stress safety after Appalachian Trail murder

Court documents obtained by News Channel 11 revealed more about what happened in the early morning hours of May 11 when a man named James L. Jordan, 30, of West Yarmouth, Massachusetts, reportedly attacked hikers in Southwest Virginia.

Officials report that as four hikers made camp on the AT in Wythe County, “Jordan spoke to the hikers through their tents and threatened to pour gasoline on their tents and burn them to death.”

Court documents also reveal that all four hikers packed up and left because they were fearful of James Jordan. The criminal complaint also revealed that as they tried to leave, Jordan approached them with a knife.

According to those documents, Victim #2 watched as Jordan began stabbing Victim #1 in the upper part of the body. Victim #2 watched Victim #1 fall to the ground, at which point she ran.” 

The report showed that Jordan also stabbed Victim #2 and that “Victim #2 fell to the ground and played dead, at which point Jordan left to find his dog. Victim #2 then ran down the train towards Smyth County.” 

Jordan was reportedly found by officers at the campsite where the attack began in Wythe County.

Investigators reported Jordan was found with some blood stains on his clothing.

Jordan is now behind bars and has been charged with one count of murder within the special maritime territorial jurisdiction of the United States and one count of assault with the intent to murder within the special maritime territorial jurisdiction of the United States.

This incident wasn’t Jordan’s first run-in with authorities on the trail.

Last month, Jordan was charged with threatening people on the Appalachian Trail in Unicoi County.

READ MORE: Hiker suspect in assault on Appalachian Trail, sheriff says

Days after Jordan’s arrest, Unicoi County Sheriff Mike Hensley said he did everything he could within the law to get him off the Appalachian Trail.

DETAILS: Unicoi Co. Sheriff: ‘I did everything I could to get him off the trail’

Those involved in the attack other than Sanchez have not been identified by authorities as they asked for space and time to heal from both emotional and physical wounds. 

However, that Facebook post by The Hiker Yearbook gave us the first glimpse at those involved. The caption under that photo read as follows: 

“These are the feet of the 3 survivors, they are all doing well, a little broken, but no where near defeated. They want to thank everyone in the hiking community for their love and support and let you guys know they are strong. Their collective message to the community is keep going, keep hiking and stay forever #ATstrong!!

In loving memory of “Stronghold”

A memorial service for Ronald S. Sanchez, Jr. Thursday night in Damascus.

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