Gordon Samel, ‘Into the Wild’ Moose Hunter Killed in Police Confrontation

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Moose Standing in Water


Samel was on a moose hunt when he came upon the bus where Chris McCandless saught refuge. photo: cbanterlart.com


Gordon Samel, known for discovering the decaying body of ‘Into the Wild’ Chris McCandless, has been killed in a police confrontation in Wasilla, Alaska. The incident occurred following a drunk-driving related police chase on Sunday March 8, 2014. Samel, 52, was reported for drunk driving and was confronted by police as he sat in his pickup truck. When confronted Samel took off, leading the police on a short chase. Samel spun his truck, allowing police and highway patrol to block him in with their squad cars. Police opened fire on Samel when he put his truck in reverse and accelerated towards an officer approaching on foot. Samel was killed and another male passenger received minor injuries.

Samel was arrested and charged with driving under the influence in September, and was under court order not to drink when the encounter occurred. Samel has a criminal history spanning 30 years and has struggled with bipolar disorder throughout his life.



Chris McCandless self-portrait in front of the Fairbanks city bus he used for shelter.


According to friends and family Samel was an avid outdoorsman and very much an Alaskan in his love for camping, hunting, and fishing. It was his passion for the outdoors that led him to discover Chris McCandless on September 6, 1992.

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