Body of missing hiker found in Vermont, flood suspected in death

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KILLINGTON — The Vermont State Police believe they have found the body of missing Appalachian Trail hiker Robert Kerker, 67, of Rhinebeck, New York.

Kerker’s body was discovered along the Stony Brook in Stockbridge, approximately 1.5 miles downstream from where the trail crossed the brook.

Kerker was last seen at the Stony Brook Shelter on the Appalachian Trail on July 9, before the onset of severe rain and flooding that hit Vermont the next day.

The flooding caused water levels to rise at Stony Brook, making the trail’s crossing dangerously treacherous. Kerker was not seen again after that sighting.

His body was discovered on Friday around 2:30 p.m. by search crews.

Multiple agencies, including the Vermont State Police Search and Rescue Team, Killington Search and Rescue, the Killington Police Department, the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles and New England K9 Search and Rescue, were involved in the recovery effort.

Kerker’s remains were taken to the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Burlington for an autopsy to determine the cause and manner of death.

The initial investigation by the state police indicates that the death is not suspicious and is linked to the severe flooding that hit the area.

Kerker, an experienced hiker, started his trek on the Appalachian Trail at Bear Mountain, New York, on June 1.

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