Authorities have come to another frustrating dead end in their hunt for Troy Knapp, the lone survivalist who has survived in the Utah wilderness for the past five years using the supplies he allegedly steals from uninhabited cabins.
The latest sighting came from a hunter who spotted Knapp on Oct. 7 near Acord Lakes, a few miles southeast of the town of Salina, according to Sevier County Sheriff Nathan Curtis.
The hunter reportedly saw Knapp through binoculars as Knapp sat alone by a campfire. He was dressed in camouflage and had a backpack and a rifle with him.
"He thought it was kind of odd because the guy wasn't dressed in [hunter] orange," Curtis said.
It wasn't until a couple of days later when the hunter saw a media report of Knapp that he realized who he saw and reported the sighting to Curtis's office. The hunter recognized Knapp's distinctive neck tattoo.
Law enforcement did a search in that area, but Knapp was already long gone.
"This guy moves," Curtis said. "I mean, he just moves."
The 45-year-old is wanted in three counties in southwest Utah for a total of 13 felonies and five misdemeanors. Warrants filed in Iron, Kane and Garfield counties accuse Knapp of a series of cabin burglaries dating back to 2009. Authorities in Iron County also have tied him to burglaries from as far back to 2007. Since then, Knapp has been steadily moving as far north as Sanpete County, where he was tied to two burglaries there. With the Oct. 7 sighting of him back in Sevier County, it seems he may be heading south again.
Knapp's path is unpredictable, Curtis said, but he and the U.S. Marshals, who have been assisting various counties in tracking Knapp, spent last week trying to get as many clues as they could. They checked more than 200 cabins in the area and found one that was definitely burglarized.
The best hope police have of catching him will likely come from citizen reports, Curtis said, and the sooner the better.
"It'd be nice to have somebody just get eyes on him and call us right away," he said.
Authorities advise anyone who may see Knapp not to approach him as he is considered armed and dangerous.