After park rangers discovered the body of a 23-year-old man at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, his sister is speaking out. In social media posts, his sister, Analiese Evans, said her brother, Tennessee native Bryce Evans, was an Eagle Scout and a member of the Tennessee National Guard.
On Instagram, she said the family was unsure why he decided to go hiking alone. “We would like to thank you all for your prayers during this and as we begin the process of healing,” Analiese said in an Instagram post over the weekend.
She added: “We would also like to thank the local authorities in Cherokee, NC and the US Park Service.” WLOS reported Evans had a summer internship at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte.
According to a release from the National Park Service, Evans’ body was located in a remote section of the national park near Balsam Mountain, North Carolina. Evans, from Knoxville, was reported missing by his loved ones earlier in the week.
On Thursday evening, officials found his vehicle parked at the Great Smoky Mountains Balsam Mountain Trailhead. Park rangers proceeded to close the road and searched the area along with emergency responders from the area.
On Friday, the park service and first responders continued to search the trail. After a few hours, they discovered his body about 20 yards off the path and approximately 1.5 miles from the Balsam Mountain Trailhead parking area.
Victim’s sister implemented social media in search of Great Smoky Mountains hiker
Before locating his body, Knoxville residents came out in droves to find Evans. The use of social media proved to be instrumental in locating his body.
Moreover, his sister took to social media to plead for help in finding her loved one.
“My brother Bryce has been missing since Sunday,” she posted to social media when he was first reported missing. “No one has seen or heard from him since 1 PM on the 31st. His phone has been turned off. He was on his way back to Charlotte, NC, from Knoxville. His last known location was the area around Cherokee, NC,” she added.
“He is 6’3″ and 185 pounds. Please if you know anything or have seen/talked to him reach out to me or my family,” she concluded her post with heartbreaking pics of her brother.
In a similar tragic situation, a 7-year-old girl died at the park after a tree fell on a tent in July.
On July 27, park rangers responded to an emergency in one of the park’s campgrounds. In a freak accident, a tree had fallen onto the family’s tent, tragically killing the child.
The young girl’s family all survived the incident without injury. However, her father and two siblings remained at the scene until emergency assistance arrived. As a result, the campsite and adjacent campsites closed down.