When Vance John “Vaejor” Rodriguez was found dead inside his personal tent in Big Cypress National Preserve, Florida, on July 23, 2018, it honestly left the entire nation baffled to its very core. After all, as carefully chronicled in HBO Max’s ‘They Called Him Mostly Harmless,’ he actually wasn’t identified for over two years despite the best efforts of fellow hikers, officials, and sleuths alike. That’s because nobody — not even his family — had realized he was missing in the first place despite the fact he’d started his anonymous journey on the Appalachian Trail back around April 2017.
Vance Rodriguez and His Family Didn’t Have a Relationship
Although Vance was born on February 25, 1976, in Lafayette, Louisiana, to Ethel Rose Gaudet Rodriguez and Lawrence J Rodriguez Sr. as a twin as well as one of three, he grew up rather isolated. He apparently didn’t get along much with his older brother Lawrence “Larry” Jr. or his twin sister Vicki Ann, plus his father was allegedly abusive — though his precise actions have never been unclear. Nevertheless, according to the original documentary, this entire situation affected the former to such an extent he went as far as to attempt suicide at 16 before changing his mind at the last moment.
That’s not to say things between Vance and his family then immediately got better, especially as the truth was the exact opposite; the youngster successfully filed for complete emancipation at 17. While many have since claimed this step for his independence was owing to the purported abuse he endured, others assert it was likely because his parents pushed him to get the help he didn’t want. Yet no matter what the case be, the teen moved out and attended college before ultimately settling down in New York for good while cutting off almost all contact with his familial loved ones.
Where is Vance Rodriguez’s Family Now?
It was only after the dead hiker, aka Mostly Harmless, was positively identified as Vance by former co-workers in December 2020 that his family finally found out about his really unfortunate demise. Yet his sister as well as other family members still vehemently refuse to open up regarding what’d gone done between them decades prior, even if they have since ensured the former’s proper burial. In other words, there may have been bad blood within the family, but they put everything aside for Vance out of respect in 2018, all the while maintaining their own individual lives in different cities.
From what we can tell, retired professionals Ethel and Lawrence Sr. continue to reside in Southern Louisiana to this day, whereas Lawrence Jr. is now a proud family man alongside his wife Rebecca plus their kids. As for Vicki, she ostensibly tied the knot with army man Trenton Derouen back in 1999 and still appears to be leading a good, happy, healthy life with him as well as their children in wondrous Louisiana. They all probably do feel the loss of Vance hanging over their heads like a dark cloud, yet it seems like they’re taking their pain in stride while keeping just the positive memories alive deep within their hearts.