WYTHEVILLE, Va. (AP/Meredith) — Federal authorities say a Massachusetts man has been arrested in an attack on the Appalachian Trail that left one person dead and another severely injured.
U.S. Attorney Thomas Cullen said in a news release Sunday that 30-year-old James L. Jordan of West Yarmouth, Massachusetts, was arrested early Saturday and charged with murder and assault.
The Wythe County Sheriff's Office said in a statement Saturday that two hikers reported a man with a machete was attacking people. The federal release doesn't identify the weapon but describes the attack as a "deadly stabbing."
Wythe County Sheriff Keith Dunagan said they got an SOS call from the male victim's phone.
"That's when we went up there and that's where we located the suspect and the victim. We had our whole tact team out there, so he wisely just surrendered himself," Dunagan told WSLS.
Dunagan said the woman escaped the attack and walked six miles -- while injured and bleeding -- before finding others hikers who could help.
Investigators are still searching the trail, worried there could be more victims. An 18-mile stretch of the trail is closed for investigation.
Authorities say the federal charges against Jordan will be filed officially on Monday and Jordan will have a first appearance in U.S. District Court in Abingdon. It wasn't clear Sunday if Jordan has an attorney.
The sheriff's office said this attack is connected to another altercation on the Appalachian Trail last month. In that incident, Jordan was charged with criminal impersonation and drug possession after police said he threatened other hikers on the trail in North Carolina and Tennessee.
In that incident, Jordan was released from jail, put on probation and ordered to pay fines.