GoFundMe launched for the victims of Appalachian Trail attack

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WYTHE COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — Following a terrifying attack on the Appalachian Trail in southwest Virginia that took one hiker's life and left another seriously injured, other hikers are joining forces to support their families.

On Tuesday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation identified the man stabbed to death on the trail as 43-year-old Ronald S. Sanchez Jr., of Oklahoma.

The woman who was attacked has not been identified police, nor have two other hikers who were part of a group threatened by the alleged attacker.

"Please respect the privacy of these hikers as they heal from the physical and emotional wounds sustained during last weekend’s incident," the FBI stated in a release.

According to Ren Ramsey, who runs a popular YouTube hiking channel, Sanchez was a decorated Iraq war veteran known as "Stronghold" on the trail.

In response to the attack, Ramsy launched a GoFundMe to raise money for the families of both Sanchez and the unnamed victim.

A regional spokesperson for GoFundMe has verified the fundraiser.

Ramsey says the fundraiser is by no means a self-promotion and contributions will go to the families with a guarantee from GoFundMe.

The hiker community is a tight knit community composed of people that come from all walks of life. Some are construction workers, lawyers, business people, new graduates, retirees, young, old, and everything in between of all races, genders, and nationalities. All consider fellow hikers family and almost always exhibit kindness and selflessness in helping out the less experienced or someone in need they may encounter along the way.

As of 4:50 p.m. on Wednesday, 72 donors had contributed about $2,895 of a $50,000 goal.

According to court documents, Sanchez and the woman were victims of a man known to Appalachian Trail hikers after threats made in Tennessee and an arrest in North Carolina. You can learn more about the case here.