A woman from Nova Scotia was forced to “play dead” in order to survive a violent attack along a hiking trail in Virginia, according to court documents.
The documents from the U.S. District Court state that James L. Jordan has been charged with murder and assault with the intent to murder in connection with a deadly incident on the Appalachian Trail last weekend.
Investigators allege that Jordan stabbed Ronald Sanchez Jr. of Oklahoma to death and also stabbed a woman multiple times.
The names of the victims have not been released, but Wythe County Sheriff Keith Dunagan has said the woman is from Nova Scotia.
The trail is located within the George Washington and Jefferson national forests.
Suspect was ‘disturbed, playing guitar and singing’ before attack
According to an affidavit by FBI Special Agent Micah J. Childers, Jordan began randomly approaching four hikers’ tents.
Childers states that Jordan was known by the hikers as a suspicious person through social media as a result of an incident in April 2019 in Unicoi County, Tenn., in which Jordan had allegedly threatened hikers on the Appalachian Trail.
Jordan spoke to the hikers through their tents, according to the affidavit, and threatened to pour gasoline on their tents and burn them to death.
“When Jordan approached the four hikers, he was acting disturbed and unstable and was playing his guitar and singing,” the document reads.
That’s when all four hikers decided to pack and leave the campsite “due to fear of Jordan.”
Attacked with a knife
According to the document, Jordan approached the four hikers with a knife as they were leaving.
“Jordan returned to the campsite and approached Victim #1 and Victim #2 again and began verbally arguing with Victim #1,” the document states, with the Oklahoma man being referred to as Victim #1.
“Victim #2 watched as Jordan began stabbing Victim #1 in the upper part of the body. Victim #2 watched Victim #1 fall to the ground, at which point she ran.”
The document says Victim #2 — the woman from Nova Scotia — began to tire, and Jordan caught up to her.
“She turned to face Jordan and raised her arms as if to surrender when Jordan began stabbing her, and she received multiple stab wounds,” the document states.
“Victim #2 fell to the ground and played dead, at which point Jordan left to find his dog.”
The document said the woman then ran down the trail towards Smyth County, where she received help from two hikers, a man and a woman.
She then had to hike another six miles into Smyth County, where they called 911.
Victim taken to hospital, Jordan arrested
According to the document, Wythe County received a call at 2:30 a.m. from a male and female hiker — referred to as Hiker #1 and Hiker #2 — who said they were “being chased by a man with a machete.”
About 40 minutes later, Smyth County received a 911 call from the woman about the attack.
She was airlifted to Bristol Regional Medical Centre, just across the state line in Tennessee, for treatment.
Then, at 6:11 a.m., the document states the Wythe County Sheriff’s Office’s tactical team entered the campsite where the initial attack began. That’s where Victim #1 was found dead and Jordan, who was observed with blood stains on his clothing, was taken into custody.
Media reports indicate that Jordan appeared in U.S. District Court in Abingdon, Va., on Monday.
He was remanded into police custody. The Wythe County Sheriff’s Office says the FBI has taken over the case and would not provide comment.
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