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Alaskan Moose Hunter with Ties to ‘Into the Wild’ Killed After Police Chase

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Gordon Samel of Into the Wild fame died last week after a police chase.

In 1992, Alaskan moose hunter Gordon Samel discovered the body of Christopher McCandless, the wilderness adventurer featured in the book and movie called Into the Wild. That will be what Samel is most remembered for.

Samel’s life was filled with a criminal history and struggles with bipolar disorder. The 52-year-old outdoorsman from Wasilla, Alaska was killed after a short police chase last Sunday, according to the Anchorage Daily News.

After the chase, Samel put his vehicle into reverse and drove towards an approaching officer. That officer and another trooper opened fire on the vehicle, killing Samel and injuring his passenger, an adult male. The injured passenger was treated for an arm wound and later released.

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Samel was known as being a true Alaskan because of his love of hunting, fishing, camping and being in the outdoors. He was a skilled mechanic and had two children.

The police chase started when Samel’s pickup truck was reported as being driven by a possible drunken driver. Police attempted to make contact with Samel by knocking on his truck, but he drove away instead, thus starting the ensuing chase.

Samel’s mother told the Daily News she’s not sure if her son was drinking that evening or had not taken medications for his bipolar disorder. He was prone to strange behavior during the times he was not adhering to his medication schedule.
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Despite the questions his family has about the chase and Samel’s death, he will still be remembered for his discovery near Denali National Park back in 1992. He was one of several hunters who came across the abandoned bus that Christopher McCandless passed away in.

Samel was the first person to work up the courage to look inside the bus and confirm the suspicion that a body was inside. There was a strong smell of decay emanating from the bus and an SOS note was found outside of the vehicle.

Samel may have lost his life too early, but will live on in the pages of Into the Wild.

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Alaskan Moose Hunter with Ties to ‘Into the Wild’ Killed After Police Chase