How Police Say a Killer Terrorized Hikers on the Appalachian Trail

Police say 30-year-old James Jordan attacked hikers with a machete.

Police say 30-year-old James Jordan brought terror to the Appalachian Trail by menacing hikers with a machete.

Ronald Sanchez a 35-year-old Army veteran was stabbed to death on the trail, which starts in Georgia and stretches all the way north to Maine. And a woman was badly wounded on the trail in Virginia.

Investigators say Jordan fatally stabbed the man and then tried to kill the other, leaving her with multiple stab wounds. The woman played dead, and when the killer fled the scene, she hiked an additional 6 miles with her injuries to find help, police say.  

“Just the willpower, the sheer willpower of her to do that, it shows the strength of these hikers. Incredible,” hiker Matthew Norman, 36, told Inside Edition. 

For several weeks, hikers had been warning each other about sightings of Jordan and his dog, Felicia. 

A message was posted on social media: "Anyone who spots this individual call 911."

There are about 200 shelters along the trail where hikers can get out of the elements and put their feet up for the night. There is a log book at each one. When Jordan started hiking the trail, people started to see entries from hikers warning each other of his erratic behavior.

Warnings suggested to “keep your head up,” “stay together,” and “keep your wits about you.”  

Norman had found Jordan one day on the trail and tried to persuade him to leave and go home to Massachusetts.   

“I bought him a bus ticket, I drove him an hour off trail, got him a hotel room, nice meal,” he told Inside Edition. “Unfortunately, he did not take that bus trip the entire way. He got back on the Appalachian Trail and that led to the murder.” 

Sanchez was murdered a week later. Jordan was arrested on the trail the following day and charged with murder. He is undergoing psychiatric evaluation.

Now, hikers say the trail is safe again.

Just one month before the murder on the Appalachia Trial, the suspect was arrested and released for allegedly assaulting other hikers on the trail.