Hiker killed in deadly Appalachian Trail stabbing identified as Oklahoman

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WYTHE COUNTY, Va. — We’re learning more information about a hiker that was killed while on the Appalachian Trail.

The ordeal allegedly began Friday night, when 30-year-old James Jordan allegedly approached four hikers on a section of the trail in George Washington and Jefferson National Forest in Smyth County, Virginia.

“He was acting disturbed and unstable, and was playing the guitar and singing,” the affidavit said.

Later in the evening, after the four 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.

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.

The stabbing

Jordan returned to the campsite, according to the affidavit, and started arguing with one of the two remaining hikers, who has since been identified as 43-year-old Ronald S. Sanchez, Jr.

The other person — referred to as Victim #2 in the affidavit — watched as Jordan stabbed Sanchez in the upper part of the body and Sanchez fell to the ground.

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.

Ultimately, the victim trekked six miles to Smyth County, where she called 911.

Authorities say Sanchez, who is from Oklahoma, was pronounced dead at the campsite.

James Jordan was arrested Saturday morning and charged with one count of murder and one count of assault with the intent to murder, the US Attorney’s Office said in a statement.

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