The Unsettling Truth About the ‘Mostly Harmless’ Hiker

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In response to Godso, Rodriguez didn’t graduate. However individuals with laptop abilities normally don’t have a tough time discovering a job. Finally, he began work at an ecommerce firm based mostly in Baton Rouge referred to as Customers Alternative, the place he was acknowledged by many as probably the most proficient engineer on the workforce. The corporate’s codebase continues to be stuffed with notations of “VR,” for code that Rodriguez wrote. Marie, who works in IT, informed me, “He was a loopy good coder. Besides he would at all times code every part the toughest approach attainable, form of such as you employed Rembrandt to color your lavatory. You already know it’s going to be lit, however excessive.”

He wasn’t significantly collaborative, however he would sit down, placed on his headphones—listening to Temple of the Canine and Rage Towards the Machine—and resolve issues. As the issues bought extra complicated, he bought extra snug. He was quiet however not, to his coworkers, perversely so. “In case you’re asking me if he’s the man who reveals up on the celebration in a clown go well with blasting issues out of a cannon, that’s not him,” says a former colleague named Corey Tisdale. “However he would go to vacation events and never look depressing.”

He ate as soon as a day, typically pizza from Walmart or lasagna from Pasta Kitchen. He wore black denims, a black shirt, and a black trench coat. He had lengthy, darkish hair virtually all the way down to his waist. At some point he reduce all of it off and gave it to Locks of Love. He attended Dragon Con. He appeared to undergo from some psychological well being points, however, in accordance with Marie, he refused typical drugs. “He self-medicated with ingesting and chocolate,” she says. He would go on what Marie and different pals referred to as “outages,” the place he lay motionless for days, refusing meals and all human contact. However finally he would snap out of it. “He wore his unhappiness like an additional layer of pores and skin,” Marie recollects. However, she provides, “I really dug his imperfectly good solitary singular self.”

Throughout this time in Baton Rouge Rodriguez began a relationship that will final for 5 years. Nevertheless it ended fairly badly. When it was over, the girl he had dated wrote on her Fb web page, “Residence 950 a month / payments 300 a month / Standing as much as the monster that beat you up emotionally and bodily for five years? Priceless.” After Rodriguez was recognized because the hiker, the girl’s mom commented on Fb, “This man was so abusive to my daughter, he modified her.”

His colleagues from that point, studying of his story now, appeared saddened. However not totally stunned. “He was at all times very introverted, stored to himself. His jokes have been normally obscure,” says a colleague named Keith Guardian. “None of that is shocking, aside from the truth that, in the long run, he died.”

“I regarded for Vance in mid-2017 to rent him to construct an app for a consumer of mine,” says one other coworker from Customers Alternative named David Blazier. “And I’d have paid him actually something he requested. I by no means discovered him.”

In 2013, Rodriguez moved to New York Metropolis. He’d met a girl, whom I’ll name Ok, in an internet chat room. Ok, who requested for anonymity due to the general public obsession concerning the hiker, was then ending faculty in upstate New York. They traveled forwards and backwards to go to one another. As their relationship developed, they determined to each transfer to New York Metropolis and reside collectively. She was going into vogue and needed to be there. He had spent his life in Louisiana and welcomed the change. He’d by no means seen snow earlier than. At first, he was romantic and candy. However quickly he began to clam up and shut her out. “If one thing upset him, he would cease speaking to me fully. Which will be lonely if you share a 500-square-foot house,” she says.

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