Hiker found dead near Waterrock Knob

A missing person search along the Blue Ridge Parkway last weekend ended when Jackson County emergency responders found the body of Ralph Brady, 55, of Bryson City, about 30 yards from the Parkway near Waterrock Knob. 

Brady was in the area collecting ramps outside the marked park boundary, according to the results of a preliminary investigation by the Parkway. His death was likely related to a medical incident related to diabetes, compounded by nighttime temperatures that fell to 17 degrees with high winds. 

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office took the report during the early morning hours of Saturday, March 3, when Brady failed to meet a scheduled pickup Friday night. The situation fell under the jurisdiction of Parkway law enforcement, and rangers requested assistance from the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, Balsam Fire Department, Qualla Fire Department, Cherokee Fire Department and Jackson County Rescue Squad. Jackson County rescuers found the body later that morning in an extremely steep area at Milepost 452

Autopsy results are pending. 

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