UPDATED: 4 p.m.. June 10, 2016
Only 10 to 15 miles south of where the body of posthumously famous adventurer Chris McCandless was found, the National Park Service is reporting the discovery of new human remains.
These have been tentatively identified as those of another young man from the East Coast, 22-year-old Etienne Terrell from Atlanta, where McCandless attended Emory University before disappearing into the Alaska wild.
Denali National Park and Preserve spokeswoman Lynn Mcaloon said the identification of Terrell was based on personal effects and communications with friends and family of the missing, who has not been heard from for almost a year.On July 3 of last year, Terrell picked up a 28-day backcountry permit to go exploring in one of Alaska’s best-known national parks. He was never to be seen alive again.
He was found in a long lifeless camp along with his tent, sleeping bag and personal gear. A ranger described the camp as one that had “obviously overwintered,” Mcaloon said.
Backcountry hikers on Tuesday contacted park rangers to say they’d stumbled on the campsite tucked away out of sight of the park road and what appeared to be human remains. The site was near the Teklanika River about 30 miles west of the park entrance.
Details on Terrell’s plans in Alaska are sketchy. The park said he was never reported missing. According to Mcaloon, Terrell told family members back in the Lower 48 that he was “planning an extended wilderness trip in Alaska after his discharge from the military.”
The cause of death is unknown. Terrell’s body has been sent to the state medical examiner.
McCandless was discovered dead in an abandoned school bus along the Stampede Road on the northern edge of the 6-million-arce national preserve in 1992. He had starved to death. He was later made into an Alaska legend in the novel “Into the Wild.”
The book theorized that the 24-year-old McCandless, who proclaimed himself “Alexander Supertramp” and left behind an odd note scratched into a piece of plywood, was on some sort of search for the meaning of life.
“Two Years He Walks The Earth. No Phone, No Pool, No Pets, No Cigarettes. Ultimate Freedom. An Extremist. An Aesthetic Voyager Whose Home is The Road. Escaped from Atlanta. Thou Shall Not Return, Cause ‘The West is The Best’ And Now After Two Rambling Years Comes the Final and Greatest Adventure. The Climactic Battle To Kill The False Being Within And Victoriously Conclude the Spiritual Revolution! Ten Days & Nights of Freight Trains and Hitching Bring Him to the Great White North No Longer to Be Poisoned By Civilization He Flees, and Walks Alone Upon the Land To Become Lost in the Wild,” the note said.