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Think Out Loud

The Deadly New Year's Day on Mt. Rainier

Pete Springer/OPB

On New Year’s Day 2012, a man drove into Mt. Rainier National Park and killed 34-year-old Margaret Anderson, a park ranger and mother of two. Details were hard to come by that day, both inside and outside the park. The visitor center in the park went on lock-down, backcountry hikers and skiers were met with SWAT teams, and a Black Hawk helicopter was called into the park.

The next morning, the killer, 24-year-old Benjamin Barnes, was found frozen to death in Paradise River. The Iraq war veteran, who was discharged for misconduct, was involved in a non-lethal shooting in Seattle the night before. No one knows what his intentions at Mt. Rainier were, but when Margaret Anderson blocked Barnes’ path further into the park, she stopped him from reaching dozens of people at the visitors center.

Bruce Barcott‘s recent Outside Magazine article “The Devil on Paradise Road” looks into the events of that day.

What questions do you have about what happened on Mt. Rainier on New Year’s Day 2012?

mountains mt. rainier murder national park ranger

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