Hiking Trail Mystery: Who was the man named Ben Bilemy?

floridahiker2018It’s a mystery that Collier County Sheriffs in Florida have been trying to find out for more than a year.  On July 23rd, 2018, a deceased hiker was found in his yellow tent at  the Noble’s Campground in the Big Cypress National Preserve in the Everglades.  Law Enforcement believe the man had been dead for several days and do not suspect foul play.  He was described as a white male between the ages of 35 to 50 years old.  When found he was five foot eight and weighed 83 pounds. He had a salt and pepper beard with bluish gray eyes.  His teeth were in excellent shape and had been cared for.  At the time of his death, he had not been in good health.

floridahiker3After a composite sketch was posted of him online, people remembered meeting him while hiking.  He used the hiking names, “Denim” and Mostly Harmless”.  He also used the name Ben Bilemy as he signed into several hostels where he stayed along the Appalachian Trail and Florida Trail in Virginia, Georgia and Florida.  There were pictures taken of him as well as video, still no one knows his real name or where he was from.  There is some belief that he may have worked in the IT industry and had connections to Louisiana and New York State.

Here is a link to a potential timeline of his time on the various hiking trails.


Here is a link to a video of him on the trail.  https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=245369582985667

If you know the identity of this man, please call the Collier County Sheriff’s Office at 239-252-9300.

12-23-2020:  Journalist Jason Nark in the Adventure Journal claims that 42 year old Vance Rodriguez, formerly of Louisiana and New York is the hiker known as “Mostly Harmless:.  No confirmation yet from Law Enforcement.  


6 thoughts on “Hiking Trail Mystery: Who was the man named Ben Bilemy?

  1. Mostly Harmless has not been positively nor confirmed to be Vance Rodriguez as Jason Nark is falsely stating. He has been saying this false statement and he is not the one who identified him. Collier County Sheriff has stated he is not yet identified. He is still Mostly Harmless.


    1. Jason Nark did a great job with his article. In this day and age when journalists are accused of fake news, he did an excellent job reporting the facts and news. HE has been confirmed as Vance Rodriguez as confirmed by the Collier’s County Sheriff’s Office


      1. Yes mostly harmless has been identified now. But Jason nark prematurely posted this man’s name all before vances family was even told of his possible identity, do u think his family wanted to be told of the possibility through an article posted online. Thats not morally right in anyone’s eyes. Jason couldn’t wait for the confirmation he had to be the first one to say something and then he contacted this man’s family, that in my eyes is not good writing its disgusting. I wonder if u would’ve felt the same had it come out that his identity was not vance. Hes lucky this time but next time he decides to write prematurely he could be wrong. Think of how u would feel if u were that family learning this info from an article written online.


      2. It was excellent journalism. If he was wrong it’s on him and he sabotages his career. That is the chance that people like Jason and myself (a newspaper writer as well) take.


  2. Mostly harmless has not been positively confirmed identified as Vance Rodriguez. Jason Nark has been passing this rumor around and its completely false. Collier County has stated this rumor needs to stop until his identity is confirmed and family is notified. He is still only known as Mostly Harmless..


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