Joe P. Asher
A Tennessee man with ties to Harlan County was found dead in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park about one week ago. Park rangers found the body of Richard Lemarr, 50, of Knoxville, at Tricorner Knob Shelter early Wednesday afternoon.
Richard Lemarr was the son of the late Clyde Lemarr, former publisher of the Harlan Daily Enterprise.
A press release from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park states Richard Lemarr left the Newfound Gap area of the park on Saturday with the intention of following the Appalachian Trail for 30 miles into Davenport Gap in North Carolina.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol used a hoist helicopter to remove the body on Friday. Rangers remained at the shelter from the time of the discovery until the evacuation was completed. The shelter has been closed to the public.
Richard Lemarr’s stepmother, Darlene Lemarr, of Harlan, said “we’re just all very heartbroken over the loss of Richard.”
According to Darlene Lemarr, Richard Lemarr was on a two-day excursion. The hike was the first overnight hiking trip he had attempted.
When Richard Lemarr did not return on time a friend contacted authorities.
“He was supposed to return on Sunday evening. When he didn’t show up, this friend of his contacted the rangers,” said Darlene Lemarr. “They had to send out rangers and look for him… He was in a shelter, but there’s no heat or anything in those. It was Friday afternoon before they could get his body down off the mountain because of the weather and the conditions up there.”
The cause of death is uncertain at this time.
“They’re not sure, they do not have the results back on the autopsy yet,” said Darlene Lemarr. “They’re probably going to let us know today.”
Darlene Lemarr said several attempts had to be made with the helicopter due to weather conditions including wind and fog.
The incident is being investigated by park rangers with the assistance of the Swain County Medical Examiner’s Office.
According to the press release, the death does not appear to be suspicious.
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-573-4510 or email@example.com