The United States Justice Department has identified the man they believe is responsible for a deadly attack on the Appalachian Trail in Wythe County Friday night.
Thirty-year-old James L. Jordan, of Yarmouth, Massachusetts, was charged with one count of murder within a special maritime territorial jurisdiction of the United States and one count of assault with intent to murder within a special maritime territorial jurisdiction of the United States.
Wythe County Sheriff Keith Dunagan said Saturday that a man in Wythe County and a woman in Smyth County were attacked with a large knife sometime between Friday night and Saturday morning.
The man, who has not been identified, died from his injuries and the condition of the woman is not known at this time.
The Wythe County Sheriff's Office's tactical team responded to the trail in the wee hours of Saturday morning after they received an emergency cell phone signal from someone on the trail.
A multi-agency investigation with the Smyth County Sheriff's Office, the United States Forestry Service and the Virginia State Police ensued.
Dunagan said investigators knew their suspect to be traveling with a dog. Around 3 a.m. while talking to a group of campers, investigators noticed a dog come running out of the woods and were able to follow it to Jordan.
The investigation was picked up by the Federal Bureau of Investigation Saturday afternoon.
"I commend local law enforcement in Wythe and Smyth counties for mobilizing successful rescue and tactical operations in this remote region," said U.S. Attorney Thomas T. Cullen in a statement. "Thanks to their efforts, the suspect was safely apprehended and a seriously wounded victim received critical medical care. We will continue to work with our state and local partners to bring the perpetrator of this senseless and brutal attack to justice."
Jordan, who goes by the trail name "Sovereign," was arrested in April in Unicoi County, Tenn., after he was accused of threatening hikers in Madison County, North Carolina.
According to multiple news reports, Jordan was charged with criminal impersonation, drug possession and drug paraphernalia possession in that incident.
The investigation into the attacks is ongoing and federal charges against Jordan will be officially filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Abingdon. Jordon will make his first court appearance on Monday.