On January 25, researchers in Joshua Tree National Park made an alarming discovery: Out in the Black Rock area in the northwest corner of the national park, they found human remains.
The researchers contacted the Riverside County Sheriff's Office around 12:08 PM to notify them of their findings. Deputies arrived on the scene, where they found the skeletal remains alongside an unattended backpack. Authorities later confirmed that the backpack belonged to Trammel Evans, 25.
Evans was last seen being dropped off by a friend at the Black Rock Campground on April 30, 2023. He had planned a long, multi-day hike from Black Rock Campground to Geology Tour Road and then back to Black Rock through the California Riding and Hiking Trail.
But six days later, May 5, 2023, Evans was reported missing after not checking in after his hike. Search and rescue crews— including helicopter teams, Marine Corps drones, and cadaver dog search teams—scoured Joshua Tree National Park for over a month looking for signs of Evans with no luck.
As the days stretched on without any sign of him, Evans' family told local news that they believed that he may have left the park or was undergoing a life crisis. It was not unusual for Evans to go "off the grid" and spend extended periods of time without using his phone or bank card, which complicated the rescue efforts.
According to Evans' family, the 25-year-old was a very experienced hiker who planned his trips thoroughly. He had thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail and had even previously completed the trail he was planning to do the day he went missing.
The Riverside County Coroner's Bureau is working to identify the remains officially, as well as determine the cause of death.
On an Instagram post on the account Evans' family created to help find him, the family confirmed that the remains belonged to Trammel Evans and that it appeared as if he had succumbed to "complications related to alcohol withdrawal." Evans had apparently left a journal in which he'd expressed concern about the symptoms of his alcohol withdrawal. The Evans family also wrote that "he sought healing through being in nature, but underestimated the challenges of his condition."
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