Veteran killed on Appalachian Trail used outdoors to cope with PTSD
Sanchez, a 43-year-old Oklahoma resident, was identified as the victim of a fatal stabbing on a stretch of the popular hiking trail on Saturday, according to the FBI's Richmond Division and the US Attorney for the Western District of Virginia. "He was adventurous and he got out of his shell and we were so proud of that because for a while he was in darkness," his sister, Brenda Sanchez Loera, told CNN in a phone interview. A female hiker played dead so she could fend off the knife-wielding man accused of killing Sanchez and threatening others on a stretch of the trail in Wythe County, according to law enforcement.The woman trekked six miles through a stretch of the trail in southwestern Virginia to report the attack early Saturday, according to court documents.James Jordan, 30, was arrested and charged in US District Court in Abingdon with one count of murder and one count of assault with the intent to murder.
Being outdoors a form of therapy for him
Sanchez's sister and his former wife, Elizabeth Kordek, said the Army veteran ended years of military service, including stints in Iraq, suffering from depression and PTSD. Sanchez also sustained back and knee injuries that made the outdoor activities he used as recreation therapy back home much harder, they said. "He was in a cycling group, he was showing horses, and on a dragon (boat racing) team and these were all out of his comfort zone because he was a really shy guy," said Kordek, adding that a Veteran Affairs' doctor planned to write an article about Sanchez's hike along the Appalachian Trail. "To survive those deployments in Iraq and to die like this is just devastating," she said. Brenda Sanchez, who lives in California, said her brother was especially proud about the Appalachian Trail hike.The fatal encounter began Friday night, when Jordan allegedly approached four hikers on a section of the trail in Smyth County, according to court documents. "He was acting disturbed and unstable, and was playing the guitar and singing," said an affidavit attached to the criminal complaint, referring to Jordan. The hikers were not named in the document. Later in the evening, after the four hikers set up camp in Wythe County, Jordan allegedly approached them again."Jordan spoke to the hikers through their tents and threatened to pour gasoline on their tents and burn them to death," the affidavit said.
One hiker played dead and survived
Terrified, the four hikers scrambled to pack and leave camp. Jordan pulled out a knife and chased after two of the hikers — a man and a woman — as they fled, authorities said.Jordan returned to the campsite, according to the affidavit, and started arguing with one of the two remaining hikers, referred to as Victim #1.The other person — referred to as Victim #2 in the affidavit — watched as Jordan stabbed Victim #1 in the upper part of the body and Victim #1 fell to the ground, authorities said.Victim #2 ran off and Jordan followed, catching up with her as she tired. She turned to face Jordan and raised her arms in surrender when Jordan began stabbing her.She fell to the ground and played dead, "at which point Jordan left to find his dog," the affidavit said.Two hikers met the woman on the trail and helped her trek six miles to Smyth County, where she called 911.Victim #1 was pronounced dead at campsite, the affidavit said. A knife was near the body.Authorities located Jordan and toRead More – Source