UPDATE: Appalachian Trail hiker identified, facing multiple charges

hiker arrested sovereign


Police have arrested the man accused of threatening hikers on the Appalachian Trail, according to Unicoi County Sheriff Mike Hensley.

The suspect, who goes by the trail name of “Sovereign,” was identified as 30-year-old James Jordon of Massachusetts.

Sheriff Hensley said Jordon was found with a large knife estimated over 20 inches long.

He is charged possession of schedule six drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia and criminal impersonation. Sheriff Hensley said Jordon will face an additional aggravated assault charge.

He is in the Unicoi County Jail.


MADISON COUNTY, N.C. (WJHL) – Authorities say they have made contact with a hiker accused of threatening other hikers.

According to the ABC affiliate in Asheville, the Madison County Sheriff’s Office located the hiker and determined he made no criminal threats. They also believe the object thought to be a machete was actually a guitar.  

Police say the hiker is not charged with a crime, the station reports. 


Original story:

UNICOI COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) – The Unicoi County Sheriff’s Office is looking for a man allegedly threatening hikers on the Appalachian Trail.

According to Sheriff Mike Hensley, the hiker has threatened other hikers on the trail at Devils Fork and also in Madison County, N.C. 

He was last seen entering the Appalachian Trail on Rector Laurel about 5:30 p.m. Sunday.

The hiker, calling himself “Sovereign,” is armed with a knife and machete. The sheriff said he has brandished both blades at hikers.

“Sovereign” is also traveling with a pit bull. 

Hensley said the Madison County Sheriff’s Department and the National Forest Service have also received calls on this individual.

Unicoi County deputies have searched the Rector Laurel and Pete Creek areas of the trail. They believe “Sovereign” is headed toward the Tennessee/North Carolina line on Sams Gap.

Sheriff Hensley said if you see him, call 911.

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