Vance John Rodriguez

  • Remains Found - Confirmed ID

About Vance John Rodriguez's case

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.

Personal Characteristics

Age / Ethnicity

Gender / Hair / Eyes

Distinguishing Marks

Not Available

Profession / Education

Height / Weight


Not Available


Investigative Details

  • Foul Play Suspected: No
  • Suicide Suspected: Unknown / Undisclosed
  • Cause of Death: Undetermined / Unreleased

Significant Dates

  • Reported Missing: Sunday, April 1, 2018 (6 years ago)
  • Date Found: Monday, July 23, 2018 (6 years ago)


Administrative Details

Monday, January 8, 2024 (7 months ago)

Missing NPF Public Identification Number (MPID) 9921

Missing NPF lists “Foul Play Suspected,” “Suspected Suicide,” “Cause of Death,” and other elements of data in association with public reporting. These settings do not reflect the opinions of Missing NPF and/or its staff. Unless explicitly noted, Missing NPF does not publicize opinion, nor are any of the initial reports written – or edited – by members of Missing NPF. All content (with the exception of “IMPORTANT” notices, listed toward the top of applicable case files) are the works of external persons, sources and/or entities. All pictures displayed on this case file have been downloaded from the public domain, unless a user has commented or otherwise transmitted a picture to Missing NPF or its social media accounts. Case updates are derived from external persons, sources, and/or entities, and do not reflect the internal work of Missing NPF, unless expressly noted.

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