Monday, January 2, 2012

Barnes, Alleged Killer Of Park Ranger Anderson Found Dead In Mount Rainier National Park Forest

Benjamin Colton Barnes

Photo : WSPD

Authorities confirmed that the body of Barnes was found in the snowy woods, according to the Washington State Police Department (WSPD).

By H. Nelson Goodson
January 2, 2012

Washington State - On Monday, the alleged killer of a 34-year-old park ranger sought by authorities in a massive manhunt has been found dead in the woods. Benjamin Colton Barnes', 24, body was found in Mount Rainier National Park in Washington State. Authorities confirmed the identify of the body found as Barnes, according to the Twitter account of Trooper Guy Gill, Spokesperson for the Washington State Police.
Barnes is supected of killing Park Ranger Margaret Anderson, 34, on Sunday, New Year's Day during an attempted road block and then fleeing into the snowy woods in the mountain. Another park ranger was not injured.
Barnes apparently didn't stop at a check point to determine that vehicles were carrying tire chains required in snow terrain. A park ranger gave chase and Anderson set up her vehicle to block Barnes. Barnes got out of his vehicle and shot at Anderson, fatally wounding her inside her vehicle. Anderson didn't even get a chance to get out of her vehicle, according to the investigation. Pierce County Sheriff's SWAT team and rescue personnel couldn't reach Anderson for hours because Barnes continued to fire at authorities. He then disappeared into the woods.
About 111 law enforcement personnel, including National Park Service, Pierce County Sheriff, FBI, Washington State Patrol, U.S. Forest Service, City of Enumclaw, and Lewis County Sheriff's descented into the mountain since Sunday to track down the suspect. Barnes tried to elude authorities by walking in river beds and other water ways, but continued to walk on chest-deep snow leaving tracks to his whereabouts.
His body was later discovered face down on the snow. Barnes was only wearing a t-shirt, jeans and one tennis shoe when found and a preliminary autopsy indicated the cause of death was attributed to prolong outdoor exposure to cold weather conditions. Authorities say, he died from the freezing conditions while walking in chest-deep snow without a jacket, survival gear or snow shoes, which would have kept him from sinking in the snow.
Barnes, an Iraq veteran (2007-08) was engaged in a custody battle and is believed to have been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. He was also wanted for questioning for an earlier shooting that left four people injured at a party in Skyway near Seattle.
Ranger Anderson served at Mount Rainier for four years. She is survived by her husband, also a park ranger at Mount Rainier, and two young children, according to a news release from the National Park Service.
The park will remain close until the federal criminal investigation is completed.

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