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  • Hiker found dead in 2018 in Florida could be from New York


    Hiker found dead in Florida could be from New York.
    Investigators said the body of the missing hiker was found on July 23.
    The victim was found by other hikers in his tent at Nobel's Campground in Big Cypress National Preserve.
    It's about five miles north of the I-75 rest stop at mile marker 63 in Ochopee, Florida.
    No identification was found with the body or at the campsite.
    Deputies believe he had been living in the park.
    The man is believed to be between 35 and 50 years old.
    He was 5 feet 8 inches tall and about 83 pounds at the time of his death.
    The man had salt and pepper-colored hair and blue/gray eyes.
    The coroner said his teeth were in excellent condition.
    A cause of death was not released, but it was not considered suspicious.
    Deputies said he had been dead a few days before his body was discovered.
    He was wearing a beige shirt and green shorts and black hiking boots.
    The man was found dead in a yellow brooks-range mountaineering two-person tent and had black and copper-colored hiking poles.
    Based on several tips, investigators believe the victim may be Ben Bilemy.
    A hiker used that name to check into various hostels along trails in Virginia, Georgia and Florida, deputies said.
    He may have also used the trail names of "Denim" and/or "Mostly Harmless."
    Deputies said searches for anyone by the name of Ben Bilemy returned no results.
    They believe he had ties to New York and Louisiana and may have worked in the tech industry.
    Investigators think his hike began somewhere in New York.
    That information was given by other hikers who encountered the man on various trails this summer.

    Anyone who recognizes the victim or may know anything about him was asked to call the Collier County Sheriff's Office at 239-252-9300.
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