NPS Digest is reporting that the body of a missing Florida man was found by searchers in the Great Smoky Mountains on Tuesday evening.
The 58-year-old man’s SUV had been parked for nearly a week in a pullout along Newfound Gap Road. The pullout, about a half mile from Smokemont Campground, serves no trailheads, so vehicles would not normally be there overnight. Rangers checked on the plate several times during the week, but no wanted notices were found from any agencies and there were no suspicious signs around the vehicle.
On Monday night, rangers were finally able to locate family members, at which point they found that the man was missing. A search dog from the North Carolina Search and Rescue Dog Association was brought in and found the man’s body in a steep, thickly wooded location about 250 yards from the vehicle. Investigators found a handgun at the scene, but no evidence of foul play. The Swain County Medical Examiner’s Office has determined the cause of death to be from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Earlier in the week officials announced that they were scaling back efforts to find 45-year-old Christopher Lee Cessna, a Cary, NC man who has been missing since April 27th.