Unidentified hiker found dead in Florida could be a Brooklynite, witness claims • Brooklyn Paper

Unidentified hiker found dead in Florida could be a Brooklynite, witness claims

Mostly Harmless: Florida police seek any information about the identify of this man, who died under mysterious circumstances last year while hiking through the Sunshine State.
Kelly Fairbanks

A hiker who died under mysterious circumstances in Florida last summer may have been a Brooklyn resident, according to a Sunshine State woman trying to locate his family.

“Two different hikers, who weren’t talking to each other, mentioned separately that he lived in Brooklyn,” said Kelly Fairbanks, a trail angel who assists travelers on the Florida National Scenic Trail.

The hiker, whose name is unknown and is generally referred to by his trail names “Denim” and “Mostly Harmless,” died last July on a trail near the Nobels Camp Site in the Big Cyprus National Preserve, amid an epic cross-country walk to Key West, according to Fairbanks.

The angel met and photographed the late traveler on another Florida trail roughly one month before he passed, she said.

Two other hikers found Mostly Harmless dead inside his tent, according to Fairbanks, and the wanderers discovered his emaciated body about two days after he died, according to information released by the out-of-state officials with the Collier County Sheriff’s Office.

“They were doing a day hike, found the camp site, and wanted to take a rest,” Fairbanks said of the hikers who allegedly discovered Mostly Harmless’s body. “They kept hollering out, but nobody answered, and there were shoes outside, so they assumed he was there. Then one of them peeked in the tent, and that’s how they found him.”

Local investigators believe Mostly Harmless had ties to both Louisiana and New York State, and police with the Florida sheriff’s office in August disseminated posters to New York City media outlets hoping to find anyone who knew the hiker.

Sunshine State investigators are still waiting for the local medical examiner to determine the hiker’s cause of death, but detectives believe he may have died of starvation, or succumbed to a pre-existing, fatal condition that compelled him to embark on the interstate trek, according to a podcast the Collier County Sheriff’s Office released earlier this month.

But there are mitigating facts that undermine those theories, including an abundance of food sources near Mostly Harmless’s place of death, and the testimony of fellow hikers he met on his journey, including Fairbanks, who said the deceased spoke optimistically of his plans for the future, such as his intention to settle in Key West.

“He sounded like he had plans,” she said.

Anyone with information regarding Mostly Harmless should call the Collier County Sheriff’s Office at (239) 774—4434.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.

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