Cops: Hiker lied about being shot on Appalachian Trail
Updated 4:54 pm, Friday, August 26, 2016
KENT — A Topeka, Kansas man hiking the Appalachian Trail sparked a three-hour, six-officer search of the woods after he placed a phone call to his mother claiming to have been shot, police say.
The man, Joseph Stickle, called his mother on the night of July 16 and told her that he’d been shot in the ribs, according to court documents, and he was “bleeding out.”
He hadn’t been shot, police said. He was just drunk.
Stickle, 31, appeared in state Superior Court in Bantam Tuesday. Originally charged with felony falsely reporting injury or death, and two misdemeanors, charges have since been reduced to one count of creating a public disturbance.
According to court documents: Stickle called his mother at 8:30 p.m. July 16. He told her where he was on the trail, and that he thought he’d been shot by a rifle. He was bleeding from a bullet wound in is abdomen, Stickle told her.
Stickle’s mother called the Connecticut State Police, documents said. She feared that he was near death, she told police. He sounded like he was in and out of consciousness, and could have lost a good deal of blood, she said.
Four state troopers and two Department of Energy and Environmental Protection officers set out to find Stickle at 10:40 p.m., documents said.
They searched for hours — hiked south, and searched a campground — but couldn’t find Stickle anywhere.
Finally, around 2 a.m., police found Stickle — two miles from where his cell phone last pinged — in a tent.
He didn’t have any bullet wounds, police said. But he was “highly intoxicated.”
Stickle claimed to police that he didn’t tell his mother he had been shot, documented said.
His next hearing is Sept. 13.