Appalachian Trail CC photo Billy Hathorn

Man Arrested in Fatal Appalachian Trail Machete Attack

Top photo credit: Billy Hathorn 

One man died and a woman was seriously injured after a man attacked them with a machete while they hiked the Appalachian Trail.

Man Arrested In Fatal Appalachian Trail Machete Attack James Jordan
James Jordan

The suspect in the attack, James Jordan, 30, was arrested Saturday morning. The U.S. Attorney’s Office charged him with one count of murder and one count of assault with the intent to murder.

According to investigators, the victims were hiking together on the Appalachian Trail near Crawfish Road. Jordan, who goes by the trail name “Sovereign,” attacked them.

Jordan also had an altercation on the Appalachian Trail in April, leading to other charges. He then threatened hikers on the trail in North Carolina and Tennessee.

Wythe County Sheriff Keith Dunagan told 10 News that investigators are still searching the trail, worried that there may be more victims.

Emergency responders found the male victim in Wythe County after he sent out an emergency notification on his cellphone. The phone company notified police of the GPS location.


“We had our whole [tactical] team out there, so he wisely just surrendered himself,” Dunagan told 10 News.

“I commend local law enforcement in Wythe and Smyth Counties for mobilizing successful rescue and tactical operations in this remote region,” U.S. Attorney Cullen stated Sunday. “Thanks to their efforts, the suspect was safely apprehended and a seriously wounded victim received critical medical care. We will continue to work with our state and local partners to bring the perpetrator of this senseless and brutal attack to justice.”

We will monitor this story and update it as further information develops.

Sean McCoy

Editorial Director Sean McCoy is a life-long outdoorsman who grew up hunting and fishing central Wisconsin forests and lakes. He joined GearJunkie after a 10-year stint as a newspaperman in the Caribbean, where he learned sailing and wooden-boat repair. Based in GearJunkie's Denver office, McCoy is an avid trail runner, camper, hunter, angler, mountain biker, skier, and beer tester.

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