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Wired Studios, Condé Nast Entertainment and Loki Films’ Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing to produce documentary on true unsolved hiker mystery


Wired Studios and Condé Nast Entertainment, along with the Oscar-nominated directing duo Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing behind Showtime’s “Love Fraud,” HBO’s “12th & Delaware” and Netflix’s “One of Us,” have partnered to document the mysterious case of a hiker whose body was found in a Florida nature preserve in 2018. Despite meeting hundreds of other hikers as he headed down nearly the length of the Appalachian Trail and then further south––and despite thousands of amateur sleuths on Facebook poring over clues he left behind––the man has yet to be identified. Wired U.S.’s Nick Thompson reported the story in early November and it quickly went viral. Thompson is a producer on the project.

Drawing on forensic reports, DNA evidence, crowdsourced tips and additional information, the documentary tracks the case in hopes of uncovering the hiker’s identity and life story. In April 2017, the mystery man started hiking south in a state park just outside of New York City, telling people along the way that he had worked in the tech industry and wanted to detox from digital life. In July 2018, after hiking nearly 1,400 miles, he died alone in his tent near the Everglades with no indications of foul play or drug use. He left no note, and was just five miles from a major highway and had cash and food with him. To date, his identity, cause of death and origin story remain a mystery. Cutting-edge genealogical DNA analysis is underway.

This is a special story not just about the seemingly impossible reality of a person leaving no digital footprint, but also of the human instinct to pull up all roots and disappear,” says Grady. “This is a mystery that deserves a deep dive, and we are excited to collaborate with CNE/Wired Studios and dig into Thompson’s fine reporting,” says Ewing.

The project is represented by WME.

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