Body of hiker missing since Friday located, officials say

Body of hiker missing since Friday located, officials say

DAWSON COUNTY, Ga. — Dawson County search and rescue authorities announced Wednesday night that the body of a hiker missing since Friday has been found.

Eddie Noonkester was hiking the Appalachian Trail near Amicalola Falls on Friday when he became disoriented and called a friend for help.

That friend then called emergency officials to say Noonkester was in trouble.

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Emergency officials said they were able to ping Noonkester’s phone shortly after his phone call, but had not been able to get in touch with him after that or ping his phone again.

About 130 people have been scouring the area looking for Noonkester since Monday using K-9 units, aerial surveillance, ATVs/UTVs and ground coverage.

“There were so many people out here in the cold and rain who put their lives in jeopardy to find my brother,” Noonkester’s brother, Wesley, said.

On Wednesday night, authorities told Channel 2′s Audrey Washington Noonkester’s body was found.

“He’s since been turned over to the GBI (Georgia Bureau of Investigation) and transported to the state crime lab,” Dawson County Fire Chief Danny Thompson said.

“I just know tonight when I lay down, I know my brother is in a better place," Wesley Noonkester said.

Officials do not suspect foul play in the case.

Now the investigation into whether Noonkester did indeed suffer a medical emergency while on the trail begins.