Rangers find body of National Guard soldier in Great Smoky Mountains National Park 

Bryce Evans (Facebook)

Alison Cutler

The Charlotte Observer

UPDATE: Rangers at Great Smoky Mountains National Park found the body of Bryce Evans “in a remote section of the park near Balsam Mountain, North Carolina” on Aug. 5. Rangers were joined by “emergency responders from the National Park Service and Cherokee Police, Fire, and Emergency Management Services. . . in a comprehensive search of the area” where Evans’ car had been found on Aug. 4.

Searchers found Evans about 20 yards off trail, approximately 1.5 miles from the Balsam Mountain Trailhead parking area.

Original story below:

What was supposed to be about a four-hour trip for Bryce Evans turned into a mystery after the 23-year-old combat medic went missing during his drive, family told media outlets.

After days of puzzling over his disappearance, Evans’ sister announced that the family finally had a lead — Evans’ car, found off an unsuspecting dirt road in a national park.

Evans was last seen and heard from about 1 p.m. July 31 when driving from Knoxville, Tennessee to UNC Charlotte in North Carolina, according to the Knoxville Police Department. He had an internship at the university, according to the police.

The 23-year-old is a pre-med student at the University of Tennessee and a combat medic with the National Guard, according to Jane Katherine Marley Heinold, a field surgeon with the Tennessee Army National Guard who works with Evans.

“SPC Bryce Evans is one of my combat medics. He is an exceptional soldier,” Heinold said. “SPC Evans is extremely conscientious and this is out of character for him.”

He told his sister he planned to work out at the gym at University of Tennessee before driving to Charlotte, but there are no records of Evans ever checking in to the gym in Knoxville or signing in to his internship in Charlotte.

His loved ones told WLOS they fear something happened to him.

“There’s not one person that wasn’t shocked and baffled by the whole thing,” family friend Sandra Haynes told WLOS. “This is very out of character and out of the ordinary. There’s nothing to lead me, his family, or friends to believe anything other than something has happened to him.”

Evans’ phone last pinged in Cherokee, North Carolina and now goes straight to voicemail, according to police.

According to Analiese Evans, two women who made a wrong turn found Evans’ vehicle — a 2017 Grey Nissan Altima — in a remote part of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park on Aug 4 and notified officials. Police are conducting searches across the terrain, she said.

“Bryce is an Eagle Scout and a member of the TN National Guard, we know the training he received from both will help him in this remote area,” Analiese Evans wrote. “The area is incredibly remote with no phone service for most of the time getting there.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Cherokee Police Department at 828-359-6600 or the Knoxville Police Department at 865-215-7450, according to WLOS.

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