Mostly Harmless has a name: Vance John Rodriguez

For over 2 years, a hiker – found deceased at Nobles Camp in Big Cypress National Preserve – has yet to be identified.

Records indicate that “Mostly Harmless,” the unidentified person’s trail name, stayed at hotels between the Appalachian and Florida Trails. While some were able to remember interactions with him, nobody could offer authorities a name or many other details beside a few suggestions: he supposedly lived in the Northeast and had worked in the field of technology. Wired referred to this case as “the case the internet can’t crack,” Facebook groups and Reddit Threads have discussed it in excruciating detail, analyzing nearly every conceivable possibility, and responsibly continue to keep the case alive alongside their thousands of captivated readers. Still, the mystery remains.

Now, thanks to developments in DNA analysis and a new technique used to build out a family tree using the assistance of a public database, we – the tireless internet community of private detectives, journalists, biologists, and psychologists – may finally be that much closer to the answer of a question that has been circulating since July 23, 2018, “who is Mostly Harmless?” From science and public information, the identity of a man somewhere between the ages of 35 and 50, weighing 83 pounds, who died from starvation next to $3,640 in cash, may finally be known.

Missing NPF will not publish the name and/or photographs of the possible match until that information has been cleared for public consumption and is published wide by the Collier County Sheriff’s Office.

We have updated our database listing with the following information (no other information has been updated):

Missing NPF has learned that new information has been made available to authorities – stemming from a credible tip – which may finally lead to a positive confirmation of identity for “Mostly Harmless.” We understand that the family and friends of “Mostly Harmless” have been notified (in an effort to confirm); our hearts go out to them during this difficult time and, out of respect, Missing NPF will not update the “Mostly Harmless” listing until that information is first released to the public-at-large via law enforcement.

We are reminded – once again – that data and science are our ally; the exchange of information has powered the search for this man’s identity, and the passions of many have led us to where we are now.

We hope to finally put a confirmed name on this listing very soon.

Link to Detective’s statement.

Vance Rodriguez was 44 years old, and is believed to have run a tech start-up by the name of “V-tech.”

This story has been updated in our database and in the previously-published story.


Social Media Comments

Not on Facebook but want to comment? Click here.

Leave a comment on both Facebook and Missing NPF by clicking here.

  • No comments yet.
  • Add a comment
    Missing NPF Administration

    Missing NPF Administration

    Missing NPF is Missing in U.S. National Parks and Forests, and is not a federal or law enforcement agency. This website - and it’s associated social media profiles - are privately-organized and funded, based in Washington State, United States of America.

    About Missing NPF

    There is currently no centralized database for those who have gone missing in National Parks and/or Forests at the federal level.

    We have established this listing in an effort to provide a holistic measure of assistance, both to inform future search efforts and to establish an assistive resource for those who are currently living with the loss of a loved one. 

    Missing NPF supports the call for federal agencies to establish, maintain, and share a full listing of those missing in U.S. National Parks and Forests. Meanwhile, we have established our own, and seek your collaboration in providing a meaningfully-detailed source by which to expand public knowledge, identify trends, and empower future search efforts. Join us on this mission.