Cops struggling to identify dead hiker with perfect teeth, possible ties to tech industry
It’s a mystery that’s been puzzling cops in Florida for nearly a month now.
An unidentified hiker with perfect teeth, clean clothes and possible ties to the tech industry — found dead inside a tent in Big Cypress National Preserve.
The man had no driver’s license and his death “is not criminally suspicious,” according to police.
He went by several aliases, including “Ben Bilemy,” “Denim” and “Mostly Harmless.” Cops believe he hiked all the way from New York.
At the time of his death, he weighed just 83 pounds. He was 5 feet 8 inches tall and appeared to be between 35 and 50 years old.
Investigators have been receiving tips from other hikers along the Appalachian and Florida trails, where the man walked along, but have still been unable to identify him.
The Collier County Sheriff’s Office released a bulletin on Monday, asking for the public’s help.
“We know that many of our followers have suggestions and speculations about who he may be,” the sheriff’s office said. “At this time we are looking for his identity or information from those who knew him or know of his family. Our database connections will make appropriate matches on all of those persons that have been reported missing.”
While investigators believe the hiker was using the trail name “Ben Bilemy” to register at “several hostels along his trek from New York to Florida,” they are not sure if this is his actual name. Online searches have been unsuccessful.
“The victim was found deceased in his tent by hikers,” the sheriff’s office said. “It appeared he had been living in the park.”
The man was resting his head at Nobles Camp — about 5 miles north of mile marker 63 on I-75 in Ochopee — when his lifeless body was discovered on July 23.
He had been sprawled out inside a yellow, two-person Foray-model tent made by Brooks-Range Mountaineering, according to police.
“There were no obvious injuries and the death does not appear suspicious from a criminal perspective,” the sheriff’s office said in a bulletin last week. “He most likely died within a few days prior to being found.”
Investigators believe the hiker — who was wearing a beige shirt, green shorts and black Salomon hiking boots — made stops in Virginia and Georgia before eventually reaching Florida.
“We have info that the deceased may have ties to New York State and Louisiana,” the sheriff’s office said, “and that he may have worked in the tech industry.”
Anyone with information about the man has been asked to call cops in Collier County at 239-252-9300. He was described as having a salt and pepper beard, with similar hair.
“What we need most from the public is info on the name,” the sheriff’s office said. “So that his family can be notified and lay their loved one to rest.”
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