BEND, Ore. - (Update: Sunriver woman comments on encounter; phenomenon of 'paradoxical undressing')
A disoriented, naked man apparently walked more than 10 miles in the woods from Lava Lands Visitor Center to Benham Falls and back in sub-freezing temperatures Thursday night before he was found and taken to the hospital, Deschutes County sheriff's deputies said.
"Drugs are believed to be a factor" in the behavior of Adam Gilliam, 27, of John Day, sheriff's Sgt. Grant Johnstone said in a news release.
Deputies and Sunriver police officers responded around 10:15 p.m. to the report of a disoriented man at the visitors center entrance on Highway 97, Johnstone said. He reportedly was naked when he approached another motorist that was helping someone else jump-start a vehicle.
A Sunriver woman said she called police after the man got into her car near the visitor center entrance, around 10:15 p.m.
Summer Roberson said she and her boyfriend, Cody Hammond, started hearing a voice coming from the woods.
"Looked around a little and didn't see anything and didn't really think anything of it,” she recalled Friday.
“And then the next time we snapped our head up, there was a naked guy climbing into the driver's seat of my car. So I look over and I was like, ‘Umm, what are you doing?”
Roberson said the man later identified as Gilliam kept saying he was on a ‘Survivor’ show and needed their car.
The pair said it was almost a blessing their friend’s car broke down in the area, and they were glad to get the man the help he needs.
Deputies and officers arrived and found the man inside his car, exhibiting signs of hypothermia and with "extensive injuries consistent with walking through trees and brush without clothing," Johnstone said.
Sunriver EMS medics responded and took the man to St. Charles Bend, where he was listed in serious condition Friday. Deputies spoke with him at the hospital and learned of his long walk, when temperatures were in the low 20s in the area.
Johnstone said the report by the other motorist and intervention by deputies and police "prevented further serious medical complications."
There is a term, “paradoxical undressing,” for when people in severe hypothermia, losing rational thought and with damaged nerves, can feel extremely hot and disrobe to cool down, even as they are potentially freezing to death.