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The sister of a deceased Tennessee man whose body was recovered by rangers at Great Smoky Mountains National Park is speaking out.
In social media posts, Analiese Evans said her brother, 23-year-old Bryce Evans, was an Eagle Scout and a member of the Tennessee National Guard.
She said on Instagram over the weekend that the family was not sure why he had gone hiking alone.
“We would like to thank you all for your prayers during this and as we begin the process of healing,” Analiese said.
“We would also like to thank the local authorities in Cherokee, NC and the US Park Service,” she added.
WLOS reported Evans had a summer internship at the University of North Carolina (UNC) Charlotte.
In a release, the National Park Service (NPS) said Evans’ body was located in a remote section of the park near Balsam Mountain, North Carolina.
Evans, from Knoxville, was reported missing by his family earlier in the week.
On Thursday evening, Evans’ vehicle was found parked at the Great Smoky Mountains Balsam Mountain Trailhead near Pin Oak Gap on Heintooga Ridge Road.
Rangers proceeded to close the road and conducted a search of the immediate area with emergency responders from the Cherokee Police and Fire departments.
On the next day, the park service and Cherokee Police, Fire and Emergency Management Services continued to search the area.
Within a few hours, at approximately 11:15 a.m. local time, Evans was discovered about 20 yards off the trail and approximately 1.5 miles from the Balsam Mountain Trailhead parking area.
No additional details were available.
A 7-year-old Georgia girl died at the park after a tree fell on a tent at the end of last month.