Further details on Appalachian Trail assault expected today


UPDATE – The FBI Richmond Office tells News Channel 11 that further details about a pair of assaults that happened on the Appalachian Trail in Southwest Virginia will be released today at a later time. 

A spokesperson for the Richmond office issued the following email to News Channel 11 

“Our office is investigating, however we are not releasing details. The United States Attorney’s Office, Western District of Virginia should be sending a release out later today.” 

The suspect involved in the case has not been identified by authorities but is currently in jail in Washington County, Virginia. 

Stay up to date with News Channel 11 for further details on this developing story. 


FROM SATURDAY – Wythe County Sheriff’s Keith Dunagan confirms that two people were assaulted overnight on the Appalachian Trail in Virginia. 

Dunagan says one male was assaulted in Wythe County and a female was assaulted in Smyth County. 

The sheriff says crews were able to locate a victim and the person reportedly responsible for the attack from a phone ping. 

The identity of the people attacked, and the suspect has not been released at this time. 

The Wythe County Sheriff’s Office issued the following statement: 

“On 5/11/2019 in the early morning hours it was reported to this agency that there was a male subject assaulting hikers on the Appalachian Trail. Two hikers reported to the Bland County Sheriff’s Office that there was a man with a machete assaulting people on the Appalachian trail in Wythe County. There was a male and female injured in the assaults. Wythe County deputies made entry onto the trail and arrested the male suspect. The Appalachian trail runs through the Western tip of Wythe County. The trail is closed on the Smyth and Bland ends coming into Wythe.

The U.S. Forest Service is leading the investigation. A portion of the trail remains closed at this time. 

Smyth County Sheriff Chip Shuler confirms a suspect is in custody at this time. 

Dunagan says that even though a name has not been released, the attack appears to be in connection to a previous encounter from last month in Unicoi County. 

Hiker suspect in assault on Appalachian Trail, sheriff says

James Jordon was accused of threatening other hikers on the trail with an axe, according to police, and was sentenced in Unicoi County Sessions Court. 

Jordon, 30, of Massachusetts, received probation and ordered to pay fines following his hearing.

According to the clerk’s office, Jordon pleaded guilty to criminal impersonation, possession of a Schedule VI drug and public intoxication.

Jordon went by the name “Sovereign” while hiking on the Appalachian Trail.

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