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Old 06-29-2020, 04:54 PM
 
1 posts, read 856 times
Reputation: 10

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Hi all,

Firstly I apologise if this is in the wrong place but I figured it's an active police investigation so here was an appropriate spot.

This is a story about anonymity, social networks, and how a person can truly disappear in the modern age. I need your help and suggestions for ways we could identify a hiker found dead almost two years ago that nobody can identify.

Here is the Colliers County official flyer for this case
https://i.imgur.com/kQ2MSBS.jpg

The story
Hikers found a dead man in Collier County, Florida, on 23 July 2018; specifically, in a tent in in a remote campsite called Nobles Camp, about five miles north of the rest stop at Mile Marker 63 on Interstate 75 in Ochopee (also known as Alligator Alley). The death itself was ruled as not criminally suspicious by Collier County homicide investigators, and they think the man had been dead for only a few days. However, there was nothing amongst his possessions to suggest his identity.
As investigators began trying to identify him, they realized that while this man had been spotted on the Appalachian Trail and the Florida trails, none of the people who reported contact--even significant contact--knew his actual name. Even multiple photos of him taken by fellow hikers and circulated online have failed to be any help.

He was known only as:
- Denim, derived from his novice decision to wear jeans on the AT.
- Mostly Harmless (or Harmlesseither because he was a science-fiction fan or as one story goes some hikers making a campfire invited him over to join them if he “didn’t bite.” He replied “I’m mostly harmless” and they said, “well come on over, Mostly Harmless.”
These are known as "trail names". This is not uncommon for participants of thru-hiking.

- Ben Bilemy: this name was reportedly used at hostels; investigators have found no evidence via online searches that this was his real name.

Investigators also stated the following:
- He was 83 pounds when he was found / at time of death (severely emaciated, think Holocaust survivor) despite having food in the tent.
- He was thought to be living in the tent in the park for weeks.
- He was thought to be between 35 - 50 years old.
- He had a salt-and-pepper hair and beard.
- He had blue/gray eyes.
- His teeth were in excellent condition.
- He had a vertical scar from the xiphoid process (beneath sternum) to just left of the umbilicus.
- No tattoos
- An obvious cause of death was not determined through autopsy.
- He was very into computer games and coding and carried notebooks full of code for a couple of games.

Information gathered primarily through conversations with other hikers who had encountered Denim/Ben/Mostly Harmless while hiking:
- He was likely to have worked in the tech industry (possibly a big name company for 10 years)
- He may have ties to New York State, New Jersey, Brooklyn and was possibly born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
- He may have a sister possibly in FT. Myers or Sarasota.
- He did not carry a mobile phone.

Any ideas how we can get him identified? or spread the flyer in the right places?
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Old 06-30-2020, 08:36 AM
 
4,289 posts, read 2,590,051 times
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Mostly harmless appears to be a young man with mental problems, who duped people into thinking he had worked in the tech industry but likely never did. Carrying notebooks full of code by itself, and especially doing so while carrying no phone suggests he was merely a wannabee techie, or someone with an obsession with coding but no real interest or ability to produce coded end products.



That's my idea on who he wasn't, but it doesn't help much in determining who he was except that I think trying to chase down the "former tech industry" lead is a waste of time and a dead end.
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Old 06-30-2020, 08:58 AM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
32,457 posts, read 75,408,994 times
Reputation: 40141
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZinniaB3 View Post
This is a story about anonymity, social networks, and how a person can truly disappear ...
I need your help and suggestions for ways we could identify a hiker...

Any ideas how we can get him identified? or spread the flyer in the right places?
I'd suggest focusing much harder on/within the hiking community.
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Old 06-30-2020, 09:47 AM
 
1,483 posts, read 737,180 times
Reputation: 2909
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrRational View Post
I'd suggest focusing much harder on/within the hiking community.
It said he could only hike 10 miles a day, and he made the mistake of wearing jeans so probably not an experienced hiker.

Did he go out there to die knowing he had a terminal illness? Maybe this was on his bucket list. He obviously didn't want anyone to know what happened to him since he always used an alias.

For that reason, I think you can probably discount all the personal things he told people about himself as lies. He's probably never been to New York, and doesn't even have a sister let alone one in Florida.

Has this been on shows like Unsolved Mysteries or Crime Watch Daily or the like? I think that's the only way this will be solved is to plaster the country with his photo. Maybe someone here is wealthy and could pay for a few thousand billboards. Any cheaper ways to get his image out there?
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Old 06-30-2020, 01:05 PM
 
4,289 posts, read 2,590,051 times
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Starvation is a terminal illness...
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Old 07-01-2020, 11:50 PM
 
4,289 posts, read 2,590,051 times
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https://truecrimesociety.com/2019/08...stly-harmless/
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Old 12-13-2020, 08:09 AM
 
4 posts, read 19,944 times
Reputation: 17
UPDATE: it has been proven through DNA that this man is Cajun and through a possible encounter it is currently believed his name could be Chris/Christopher.
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Old 12-13-2020, 08:39 AM
 
4,289 posts, read 2,590,051 times
Reputation: 8556
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harrison91 View Post
UPDATE: it has been proven through DNA that this man is Cajun and through a possible encounter it is currently believed his name could be Chris/Christopher.

says who? I can't find any verification of the DNA results, just a few people stating it with no source. The lab doing the work is Othram and their website says nothing about test results.https://othram.com/press.html
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